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The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-powered and donor-centered charity dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research, is proud to award a total of $510,000 in grants to researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford to support research that is looking to find cures and better treatments for pediatric cancers.
Alejandro Sweet-Cordero, M.D., was awarded the “Team Clarkie St. Baldrick’s Research Grant,” totaling $100,000. Dr. Sweet-Cordero’s grant aims to understand how a DNA mutation causes Ewing sarcoma. He hopes that understanding this mutation will lead to better therapies for children with this cancer. The grant is named in honor of Clarkie Carroll, 12, who was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma in 2013 and now shows no evidence of disease.
The “Sweet Caroline St. Baldrick’s Fellow” award was granted to Avanthi Shah, M.D. Using the $195,000 grant, Dr. Shah is designing a tool to detect tumor-specific genetic alterations found in the blood of pediatric sarcoma patients and hopes this test will serve as a better way to measure tumor size and response to treatment than current imaging methods. The grant is named in memory of Caroline Richards, a 2015 St. Baldrick’s Ambassador who passed away from cancer in January.
A total of $100,000 was awarded to Kathleen Sakamoto, M.D., Ph.D., to study acute myeloid leukemia (AML) – an aggressive form of childhood leukemia. Dr. Sakamoto’s team will study the role of a protein, RSK, in the development of AML, and will examine RSK inhibition as a potential approach to treat this type of leukemia.
Based on strong progress in her research, Kara Davis, D.O., was awarded a new $115,000 grant to fund an additional year of her “NetApp St. Baldrick’s Scholar” award. Previous funding from St. Baldrick’s has allowed Dr. Davis and her team to uncover features of cells that put a patient at higher risk for relapse. This project looks to investigate how the communication in cancer cells is different in children who are cured of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, from those whose disease relapses.