Immuno-Oncology Resource Center

Immuno-Oncology Resource Center

October 09, 2019
2 min read

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society awards $13.8 million for research into pediatric blood cancers

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Gwen L. Nichols, MD
Gwen Nichols

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society awarded $13.8 million in new pediatric research grants designed to identify more effective and precise treatments for children with blood cancer.

These grants increase to $25 million the society’s total commitment to pediatric cancer research grants.

“Children are not little adults. They need better, less toxic treatments designed just for them,” Gwen Nichols, MD, chief medical officer of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), said in a press release. “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.”

The new grants are part of the LLS Children’s Initiative, a $50-million, multiyear effort that supports research, advocacy, and patient education and support. The initiative also includes a collaborative effort to launch a global precision medicine clinical trial next year intended to fundamentally change how pediatric acute leukemia is treated.

The grants will fund 20 research projects.

Recipients of active grants and their study focus areas are:

Iannis Aifantis, PhD, of New York University School of Medicine — Targeting the stress response machinery in pediatric T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia;

Robert Albero Gallego, PhD, of Columbia University Medical Center — Role and mechanisms of enhancer deregulation in in T-ALL;

Scott Armstrong, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute — Selective BRD4 degradation in pediatric leukemia;

Patrick Brown, MD, of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine — The immunobiology of blinatumomab response and resistance in relapsed pediatric B-ALL;

Terry Fry, MD, of University of Colorado Denver — Rational development of multitargeted chimeric antigen receptor T-cell constructs in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia;

Jolanta Grembecka, PhD, of University of Michigan — ASH1L degradation as a new treatment for acute leukemia, and screening for inhibitors of ASH1L as a new treatment for AML;

Alex Kentsis, MD, PhD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Sloan Kettering Institute for Cancer Research — Targeting kinase-dependent dysregulation of transcription factor control in AML;

Jatinder Lamba, PhD, of University of Florida — Personalizing CD33-directed immunotherapy for pediatric AML;

Kasey Leger, MD, of Seattle Children's Hospital — Cardioprotective strategies and cardiotoxicity prediction n children with AML;

Jianping Li, MD, of University of Florida — The role of NSD2 mutation in therapy resistance in childhood ALL;


Soheil Meshinchi, MD, PhD, of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center — Novel immunotherapeutic strategies in infants with high-risk AML;

Charles Mullighan, MD, of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital — Improving therapy for CRLF2-rearranged Ph-like ALL;

Ryotaro Nakamura, MD, of Beckman Research Institute at City of Hope — CMV-CD19 bi-Specific CAR T cells with cytomegalovirus vaccine as posttransplantation immunotherapy for ALL;

Erin Peckham, PhD, of Baylor College of Medicine — Inherited and somatic risk predictors of Langerhans cell histiocytosis and MAPK-activated tumors;

Davide Rossi, PhD, MD, of Foundation for the Institute of Oncology Research — Treatment tailoring by optimized early residual disease assessment in classic Hodgkin lymphoma;

Kathleen Sakamoto, MD, PhD, of Stanford University — Niclosamide for the treatment of relapsed pediatric AML;

Kevin Shannon, MD, of University of California, San Francisco — Co-targeting BET bromodomain proteins and aberrant signaling in AMLe RAS signaling in pediatric AML; and

Loren Walensky, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute — Precision targeting of BFL-1 and MCL-1 in pediatric leukemias to overcome treatment resistance.