The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has announced twenty grants totaling more than $13.8 million in support of pediatric cancer research.
The grants were awarded as part of the organization's $50 million Children's Initiative, a comprehensive approach to tackling pediatric cancers that includes investments in new research and clinical trials, enhanced services and support for children and their families, and renewed policy efforts. With the latest grants, LLS has committed more than $25 million over five years to address the needs of children with blood cancers.
Grant recipients include Kasey Leger (Seattle Children's Hospital), who is working to prevent heart damage in children undergoing chemotherapy treatment; Terry Fry (University of Colorado), Soheil Meshinchi (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center), and Ryotaro Nakamura (City of Hope), who are working to develop next-generation chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell immunotherapy, an innovative approach that reprograms a patient's T cells to identify and destroy cancer cells; Robert Albero Gallego (Columbia University) and Iannis Aifantis (New York University), who received funding to research T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a disease with poor outcomes for children; and Davide Rossi (Foundation for the Institute of Oncology Research), who is investigating the use of liquid biopsy, a highly sensitive test that looks for pieces of DNA from tumor cells circulating in the blood to improve the monitoring of patients early in Hodgkin lymphoma treatment.
"September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month, and it is also Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, making this an important time to talk about the need to take a bold new approach to helping children with cancer," said LLS chief medical officer Gwen Nichols. "Children are not little adults. They need better, less toxic treatments designed just for them. Our goal is a wholesale shift in the standard of care for pediatric patients, moving from toxic chemotherapies that leave survivors with lifelong health challenges, to effective, safe treatments that target cancer precisely, without harming the rest of the child's body."