Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Awarded Over $1 Million by St. Baldrick’s Foundation to Support Cancer Research

Published on 
August 4, 2014

Grants will fund neuroblastoma consortium, career development and summer fellowships

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research, has awarded Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) several grants totaling more than $1 million.  The grants will help fund translational research of the New Approaches to Neuroblastoma Therapy (NANT) consortium, which is dedicated to developing novel, effective therapies for the treatment of neuroblastoma; a career development award for investigating drug resistance in children with leukemia; and summer fellowships in pediatric brain cancer and leukemia.

Robert Seeger, MD

Worldwide, more than 175,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year and it is the leading cause of death from disease among children in the U.S. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, through their signature head-shaving events, currently fund more childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the federal government. With less than four percent of all federal cancer research funding dedicated to pediatrics, St. Baldrick’s Foundation funding is critical to continue the battle against this devastating disease in children.

Yong-Mi Kim, MD, PhD, MPH

At CHLA, the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases (CCCBD) is a leading referral center in the western U.S. for the diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancer and blood diseases and is the largest pediatric hematology-oncology program of its kind. Through this center, CHLA participates in more multisite clinical trials and research consortia than any other pediatric cancer program in the nation, including serving as the headquarters for the NANT consortium.

By linking laboratory and clinical investigators between 14 sites in North America, NANT develops breakthrough therapies and performs the first clinical testing of these treatments. Robert Seeger, MD, head of the Section for Research at the CCCBD, was awarded nearly $800,000 by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation for his work in NANT to improve immunotherapy; to improve the treatment of neuroblastomas with a distinctive cancer gene; to define genetic changes within tumors in order to develop new treatments; and to improve prediction of outcome with a molecular biomarker test used on blood or bone marrow.

In another area of cancer research, Yong-Mi Kim, MD, PhD, MPH, an investigator at the CCCBD, recently received a St. Baldrick’s Scholar award  to support an additional two years of her project. This funding will support Kim’s work examining drug resistance in pediatric patients with leukemia. 

Anat Erdreich-Epstein, MD, PhD

“I’m trying to find out why some children with leukemia don’t get better, despite receiving regular treatment—a phenomenon called drug resistance,” says Kim. “My research investigates the fundamental mechanisms of drug resistance in leukemia, and will hopefully lead to clinical trials and improve the treatment outcomes for many cancer patients.”

Awards from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation will also fund two summer fellowships in cancer research at CHLA. Under the mentorship of Anat Erdreich-Epstein, MD, PhD, the first fellow will examine the effects of a specific gene, PID1, in medulloblastoma cells.

Chintan Parekh, MD

The second fellow will study the role of non-coding RNA in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia in the lab of Chintan Parekh, MD.



About Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Children's Hospital Los Angeles has been named the best children’s hospital on the West Coast and among the top five in the nation for clinical excellence with its selection to the prestigious U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll. Children’s Hospital is home to The Saban Research Institute, one of the largest and most productive pediatric research facilities in the United States. Children’s Hospital is also one of America's premier teaching hospitals through its affiliation since 1932 with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

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