Alexs Lemonade Stand Foundation Announces 2016 Innovation Grant Recipients

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The Innovation Grant provides significant seed funding for leading pediatric oncologists searching for cures.

Philadelphia, PA (August 9, 2016) – Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), a nonprofit dedicated to finding cures for all children with cancer, has awarded 21 Innovation Grants to leading pediatric oncologists across the country. Over the course of two years, researchers receive $250,000 of critical funding to pursue unique projects.

We are very grateful to Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for their support of our research, which will help us make important advances to overcome the challenges for developing more effective and less toxic therapies for pediatric leukemia. As a physician-scientist who actively treats leukemia, I am well poised and eager to translate our findings to the bedside,” said Mark Chiang, MD/PhD from University of Michigan. “Newly independent investigators like myself have questioned whether to pursue pediatric cancer research given the current funding shortages. Thus, the funding from ALSF comes at a critical time to establish a new laboratory committed to finding better treatments for pediatric cancer.”

Innovation Grant recipients will conduct their research at 16 top institutions across the country. The projects will study various types of childhood cancers. A list of the scientists receiving grants, their institutions and the titles of their projects is included on the following page.

“The Innovation Grant encourages experienced researchers in the field to push forward toward breakthroughs in childhood cancers, ultimately leading to new clinical interventions,” said Jay Scott, Co-Executive Director of ALSF. “Each year, the recipients continue to show great promise moving us toward the desperately needed cures, with important findings along the way.”

The Innovation Grant, among the first grants awarded by ALSF, was created to provide critical and significant seed funding for experienced researchers with novel and promising approaches to finding the causes and cures for childhood cancers. Research funded by ALSF has been featured in The New England Journal of Medicine, Blood, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Molecular Therapy, AACR Journal, Oncogene, Nature and more. In addition to the Innovation Grant, ALSF funds several other grant categories to researchers on the front lines of the childhood cancer fight. For more information, visit: www.ALSFgrants.org.

2016 Innovation Grant Recipients

Dr. James Amatruda, MD/PhD – University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

DICER1-Driven Cancers: Models, Mechanisms and Therapies

Dr. Eveline Barbieri, MD – Baylor College of Medicine

Targeting MYCN-amplified Neuroblastoma Through RORalpha Activation

Dr. Kevin Cassady, MD & Dr. Christopher Walker, PhD – Children's Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital

Improving Immune-Mediated Oncolytic Viral Therapy: Engineering Tumor Vaccine Elements into the Virus

Dr. Mark Yat-Fung Chiang, MD/PhD – University of Michigan

Selective Epigenetic Regulation of Notch1 in T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Dr. Ben Croker, PhD – Boston Children's Hospital

GeneEditing in T-cell Leukemia to Promote Immunomodulatory Forms of Cell Death

Dr. George Q. Daley, MD/PhD – Boston Children's Hospital

Targeted Inhibition of Lin28/let-7 Binding to Treat Pediatric Malignancy

Dr. Sinisa Dovat, MD/PhD & Dr. Chunhua Song, MD/PhD – Penn State College of Medicine

Targeted Combination Therapy to Sensitize High-Risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia to Methotrexate via Restoration of Ikaros Tumor Suppression

Dr. Stephen Gottschalk, MD & Dr. Nino Rainusso, MD – Baylor College of Medicine

CD47-blocking Oncolytic Vaccinia Viruses as Biotherapeutics for Pediatric Solid Tumors

Dr. Neetu Gupta, PhD & Dr. Peter Anderson, MD – The Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Targeting the Function of Ezrin in Rhabdomyosarcoma

Dr. Katherine C. Hsu, MD/PhD & Dr. Nai-Kong Cheung, MD/PhD – Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Development of an Anti-KIR3DL1 Antibody to Promote Innate Immunity Against Neuroblastoma

Dr. David Largaespada, PhD – University of Minnesota

Enhancing Pediatric Sarcoma Immunotherapy by Drug Induced Expression of Tumor-Specific Cryptic Neoantigens

Dr. Elizabeth Lawlor, MD/PhD & Dr. Deneen Wellik, PhD – University of Michigan

HOX Genes as Developmental Regulators of Sarcomagenesis

Dr. David Lyden, MD/PhD & Dr. Praveen Raju, MD/PhD – Weill Cornell Medical College

Circulating Exosomes as Biomarkers of Medulloblastoma Progression, Metastasis, and Recurrence

Dr. Craig Mullen, MD/PhD – University of Rochester

Targeting Microenvironmental Support of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Dr. Eric Hutton Raabe, MD/PhD & Dr. Barbara Slusher, PhD – The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

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