The St. Baldrick's Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to funding childhood cancer research, has awarded more than $650,000 in new grants to support researchers at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC).
Based in Los Angeles, the St. Baldrick's Foundation is one of the nation's largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants.
The grants are part of more than $19.1 million total awarded to researchers across the country this summer. The foundation says the funding will "help provide the 'arsenal' needed to find new and innovative ways to combat our common enemy and give kids the healthy childhoods they deserve. "
Grants were awarded to the following researchers in the area:
- Nickhill Bhakta, MD, at St. Jude was awarded for $330,000. Bhakta will produce global childhood cancer disease burden estimates by using a combination of data from cancer registries around the world and large childhood cancer survivorship research studies. By filling in the gap of missing global and national childhood cancer-related disease burden data, Dr. Bhakta and other researchers will be able to provide global stakeholders and policymakers more information to inform country-level planning and ultimately improve the survival of children diagnosed with cancer in the most resource limited settings.
- Tara Brinkman, PhD., at St. Jude is using the St. Baldrick's Scholar grant for $114,999 to examine how the structure and function of the brain is related to childhood cancer survivors' understanding of social information. Dr. Brinkman is examining ways to lower the risk of social anxiety and feelings of isolation for these patients.
- Hui Zhang, PhD, MD, at St. Jude was awarded a St. Baldrick's International Scholar grant for $115,000. Dr. Zhang is focused on patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in China. With the drastic increase in access to clinical care in China, the challenge is to deliver better therapies and improve outcomes.
- Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, MD at St. Jude was awarded a St. Baldrick's Consortium Research grant for $499,480. Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) is a very rare type of blood cancer that affects many kids. This consortium will be using a uniform treatment to investigate the biology of the disease to look for better therapeutic treatments.
- Susan Miranda, PhD., at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center was awarded a St. Baldrick's research grant for $99,918. Dr. Miranda's research examines ways to inhibit the growth of osteosarcoma cells, specifically targeting estrogen signaling.