More than $500,000 for projects on pediatric cancer

The funding from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation supports research to find cures and better treatments for pediatric cancers.

Four School of Medicine researchers have received awards totaling $510,000 from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to support separate research projects on pediatric cancer.

Kara Davis, DO, an instructor of pediatric hematology and oncology, received $115,000 to fund an additional year of her NetApp St. Baldrick’s Scholar award. The previous funding helped Davis and her team identify features of cancer cells that put a patient at higher risk for relapse of the disease. Her project investigates how communication in cancer cells differs between children who are cured of acute lymphoblastic leukemia and those whose disease relapses.

Kathleen Sakamoto, MD, PhD, the Shelagh Galligan Professor in the School of Medicine and professor of pediatric hematology and oncology, received an award of $100,000 to study the role of a protein in the development of acute myeloid leukemia, an aggressive form of childhood leukemia.

Avanthi Shah, MD, a postdoctoral scholar in hematology and oncology, was named a Sweet Caroline St. Baldrick’s Fellow. Shah received $195,000 to fund her efforts to design a tool to detect tumor-specific genetic alterations in the blood of pediatric sarcoma patients. She hopes this test could serve as a better way to measure tumor size and response to treatment than current imaging methods.

Eric Sweet-Cordero, MD, associate professor of pediatric hematology and oncology, received the $100,000 Team Clarkie St. Baldrick’s Research Grant for research into how a DNA mutation leads to a rare bone cancer known as Ewing’s sarcoma.

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