Rising Tide Foundation for Clinical Cancer Research (RTFCCR) and U.S.-based CureSearch for Children’s Cancer (CureSearch) have awarded a total of $1.69M (USD) to two leading pediatric cancer researchers for the International Grand Challenge: Acceleration Initiative 2 Award. Selected from 23 competitive applicants from around the world, the two winning research proposals will address critical challenges in pediatric cancer treatments and accelerate the delivery of novel therapeutic agents.
With a grant award of $835K, Richard Gilbertson, MD, PhD, from the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England, will lead the study on targeted therapies for high-risk pediatric brain tumors. This project will investigate the repurposing of existing and new drugs for selective activity against the common malignant childhood brain cancers: medulloblastoma, ependymoma and choroid plexus carcinoma. By establishing a combination of neurosurgical, radiation and chemotherapy trials, Dr. Gilbertson and his team also aim to set a new standard in preclinical drug development of pediatric brain tumors and other cancers.
With the grant award of $855K, Maria-Grazia Roncarolo, MD, from Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA, will evaluate and establish a cell-based therapy for children with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). This study will integrate cutting-edge gene therapy approaches of Tr1 cell generation to identify combinatorial methods that have a transformative influence on the long-term effectiveness and health of pediatric AML patients receiving allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) treatments. Findings from Dr. Roncarolo’s study could potentially shorten the path towards the development of a highly-effective and clinically relevant strategy to ensure an increased cure rate for pediatric AML patients.
This $1.69M grant is the result of a strategic partnership between CureSearch and RTFCCR, each contributing equal funds to support top researchers from around the world to address the most challenging problems facing childhood cancer research and accelerate the field toward a cure.
“To end children’s cancer, we must invest in the best, most innovative pediatric cancer research,” said Laura Thrall, chief executive officer of CureSearch for Children’s Cancer. “This international effort with RTFCCR brings together the brightest and best leaders in their fields from around the world who are addressing research barriers and accelerating the search for children’s cancer cures.”
“As many childhood cancers have genomic drivers that are distinct from those that occur in adult cancers, there exists only a small number of targeted therapies, which are currently available for pediatric cancers,” said Eveline Mumenthaler, Director, Rising Tide Foundation for Clinical Cancer Research.
“The collaboration between CureSearch and RTFCCR is a very timely and important endeavor. By pooling together our funding resources, our two organizations can support the best and most innovative researchers like Drs. Gilbertson and Roncarolo to discover and contribute new knowledge for improving not only the survival rate but also the quality of life for pediatric cancer patients,” added Ms. Mumenthaler.
Launched in 2013, the Acceleration Initiative is CureSearch’s three-phase, $10 million commitment to surface the most promising children’s cancer research, to drive it to clinical practice, and to quickly find better treatments and cures. Phase 2 - The International Grand Challenge - brings together the brightest thought leaders from around the world to focus on the areas of greatest challenge in children’s cancer research making it one of the only global efforts to solve for children’s cancer.
For more information about the AI-2 grant program, visit www.curesearch.org/Acceleration-Initiative#ai2
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