Fellow wins Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Jane C. Wright, MD, Young Investigator Award

Dr. Abby Rosenberg, current third-year fellow, has been awarded funding from the Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Jane C. Wright, MD, Young Investigator Award provides $50,000 in funding for junior clinical investigators during their transition from fellowship to faculty.

Dr. Rosenberg’s research has focused on patient and family psychosocial outcomes after cancer.  “The Conquer Cancer Foundation aims to promote quality research in clinical oncology, “ said Rosenberg.  “Receiving this grant is such an honor.  Not only does it enable me to continue my work towards understanding and fostering family resilience, but it also underscores the idea that optimal survivorship is intricately linked with optimal psychosocial outcomes.”

‘Hope on Wheels’ awards $100,000 to Soheil Meshinchi for pediatric oncology research

Hyundai’s ‘Hope on Wheels’ has awarded $100,000 to Dr. Soheil Meshinchi for research to combat childhood leukemia.

“Acute myeloid leukemia is a less common type of leukemia, but it leads to more than half of all leukemic deaths in children,” Meshinchi said. “Support from Hyundai Hope on Wheels will directly help us identify novel biomarkers that would become tools in curing AML.”

Meshinchi’s work revolves around the genetic changes known to be the underlying cause of AML. His lab focuses on identifying mutations, learning how they affect risk in individual patients, and determining how they may be targeted through treatment.

“Hope on Wheels” has committed more than $43 million to childhood cancer research since its inception in 1998.

Two faculty win St. Baldrick’s awards

Two Pediatric Hematology/Oncology faculty and Hutchinson Center scientists have been awarded grants from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness and funds for childhood cancer research. Dr. Akiko Shimamura received a $100,000 research grant and Dr. Colleen Delaney received $500,000 to lead a consortium study.

Shimamura treats pediatric cancer patients at Seattle Children’s and is a University of Washington associate professor of pediatrics. Her research focuses on inherited bone marrow failure syndromes, a group of disorders characterized by cancer predisposition. A common feature of many of the syndromes is impaired ribosome production or function. Ribosomes were thought to have only a housekeeping role in cells, but recent studies show that alterations in protein translation, resulting from ribosomal abnormalities, can promote cancer formation. Her research will evaluate how changes in ribosome function alter protein translation to promote pediatric cancer formation.

Delaney, who directs the Hutchinson Center’s research and clinical program in cord blood stem cell transplantation, will head a multi-institutional study to test potential new therapies to help patients overcome chemotherapy’s side effects. The intensive chemotherapy used to treat pediatric acute myelogenous leukemia often results in prolonged periods of extremely low white blood cell counts, which in turn is associated with a significant risk of death from infectious complications. Treatment-related mortality is as high as 20 percent in adolescents and young adults undergoing chemotherapy for AML. 

St. Baldrick’s, based in Southern California, awarded more than $19.6 million in new grants, bringing the total to more than $21 million awarded for this fiscal year. The grants, announced August 9, provide research funding for a wide variety of childhood cancers. Foundation funding is also used to conduct promising research, improve access to clinical trials and continue to provide support for the next generation of leading pediatric oncology researchers.

[Adapted from a St. Baldrick’s news release]

Gardner wins pediatric oncology grant

Dr. Rebecca Gardner, a former fellow and now faculty, has won a two-year, $80,000 Young Investigator Award from Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

The awards provide critical startup funds to help new researchers and physicians pursue promising ideas. Gardner’s funds will further her study of how to engineer a graft-vs.-leukemia effect into cord blood transplants for acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

“This grant gives me the opportunity to conduct preliminary experiments using immune cells other than T-cells for future use in adoptive immunotherapy, with a special interest in treating patients receiving cord blood transplants for ALL,” Gardner said. “Alex’s Lemonade Stand is a very meaningful foundation; it’s an honor to receive this grant.”

Former fellow gives talk at EMBO in Germany

Former fellow and current junior faculty Abraham Fong, MD PhD presented at the EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organization) meeting on “The Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms Regulating Skeletal Muscle, Development, and Regeneration.” in Wiesbaden, Germany, which took place from May 10-15, 2011.  Dr. Fong’s talk was entitled, “Comparison of the Myogenic and Neurogenic Regulatory Programs.”

Clinical investigator award supports immunologist Bleakley

Dr. Marie Bleakley, an immunologist in the Clinical Research Division, received a three-year, $450,000 award for her research separating the beneficial graft-vs.-leukemia effect from detrimental graft-vs.-host disease after bone marrow or stem cell transplantation.

Bleakley’s goal is to identify specific subsets of immune cells that promote GVHD; these cells can then be eliminated to reduce the frequency or severity of GVHD, while at the same time maintaining and improving the GVL effect. About 50 percent to 75 percent of donor transplant recipients get chronic GVHD. In addition, she aims to discover novel leukemia-associated proteins that could be potential targets for therapeutics.  

Bleakley works under the mentorship of Dr. Stan Riddell, an immunologist in the Clinical Research Division.

Damon Runyon’s clinical investigator award program is specifically intended to help address the shortage of physicians capable of translating scientific discovery into new breakthroughs for cancer patients.  In partnerships with industry sponsors and through its new Accelerating Cancer Cures initiative, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation has committed more than $38 million to support the careers of 58 physician-scientists across the United States since 2000.

Fellow accepted to give oral presentations at ASH

3rd year fellow Matthew Kutny gave two oral presentations at ASH 2010.

Fellow awarded competitive ITHS Fellow’s Program grant

We are proud to announce that Abby Rosenberg, MD has been awarded funding through the Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS) Tuition Support Fellows Program. This competitive grant award provides acceptance into the ITHS two-year program that promotes advanced skills training to fellows and junior faculty members interested in careers in clinical and translational research.  Five applicants are accepted into the program each year. The program provides tuition support for four quarters (with the possibility of up to seven quarters) of intense training leading to an MS or MPH degree in Epidemiology or Health Services from the School of Public Health.

For further information, refer to the ITHS Fellows Program website at http://www.iths.org/node/11

Clinical researchers win pediatric oncology awards

Two Hutchinson Center scientists who research pediatric cancers have been awarded grants from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness and funds for childhood cancer research. The Clinical Research Division’s Dr. Scott Diede received a three-year $330,000 scholar grant. Dr. Suzanne McGoldrick, a pediatric hematology and oncology fellow, received a two-year award worth $148,577.

Diede treats pediatric cancer patients at Seattle Children’s and is an acting clinical instructor in the University of Washington Department of Pediatrics. He said he will use his award to study epigenetic changes in pediatric cancer, specifically how aberrant DNA methylation contributes to the formation of pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma.

McGoldrick works collaboratively with Dr. Colleen Delaney in the Clinical Research Division’s Riddell Lab. She will continue to focus on why one blood unit dominates after a double cord blood transplant.

St. Baldrick’s, based in Southern California, awarded more than $12.8 million to fund pediatric oncology researchers in 47 states. The grants, announced on July 14, provide research funding for a wide variety of childhood cancers including neuroblastoma, osteosarcoma, brain and spinal cord tumors, Ewing’s sarcoma, leukemia and others. Foundation funding will also be used to conduct promising research, improve access to clinical trials and continue to provide support for the next generation of leading pediatric oncology researchers.

Article by Dean Forbes. Reprinted from the Hutchinson Center website at http://www.fhcrc.org/about/pubs/center_news/online/2010/07/st_baldricks_awards.html

Seattle Magazine picks top docs for 2010

Over the past decade, Seattle magazine has been the go-to resource for information about the best doctors in the region. Top Doctors are nominated by colleagues who are asked to suggest providers they would seek out or recommend to loved ones. For 2010, the top pediatric hematology and oncology doctors for Seattle were all from Seattle Children’s hospital and the Hutchinson Center. Congratulations docs!

  • Robert Andrews, M.D., Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Ave. N, 206.667.5000, Seattle Children’s Hospital; University of Minnesota, 1976; bone marrow transplant, leukemia, lymphoma
  • Michael Bender, M.D., Ph.D., Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Ave. N, 206.667.5000, Seattle Children’s Hospital; University of Washington, 1990; sickle cell disease
  • J. Russell Geyer, M.D., Seattle Children’s Hospital, 4800 Sand Point Way NE, 206.987.2106, University of Washington Medical Center; Wayne State University, 1977; brain tumors
  • Douglas Hawkins, M.D., Seattle Children’s Hospital, 4800 Sand Point Way NE, 206.987.2106; Harvard Medical School, 1990; bone tumors, Ewing’s sarcoma, leukemia, rhabdomyosarcoma
  • Dana Matthews, M.D., Seattle Children’s Hospital, 4800 Sand Point Way NE, 206.987.2106; University of Washington, 1981; leukemia, lymphoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, soft-tissue sarcoma, bone tumors
  • Thomas Pendergrass, M.D., Seattle Children’s Hospital, 4800 Sand Point Way NE, 206.987.2106, University of Washington Medical Center; University of Tennessee, 1971; sarcoma, leukemia and lymphoma, retinoblastoma
  • Akiko Shimamura, M.D., Ph.D., Seattle Children’s Hospital, 4800 Sand Point Way NE, 206.987.2106; University of Rochester, 1991; bone marrow failure disorders, aplastic anemia, anemia

Seattle magazine’s Top Doctors list results from a collaboration with Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., a highly regarded health care research and information company that works with magazines across the country to produce similar top doctors features. Castle Connolly also is the publisher of several resource books on physicians, including America’s Top Doctors and America’s Top Doctors for Cancer.