Connecticut Children's Medical Center Awarded $2 Million Grant From National Institutes of Health

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Connecticut Children’s Medical Center has been awarded a $2 million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health – National Cancer Institute for a five-year study, “Sphingosine-1- Phosphate Pathway Based Therapy for Neuroblastoma.”

“Our preliminary data suggests that targeting this pathway may be as effective as some of our best drugs and, when used in combination, has a significant greater ability to kill tumor cells,” explained Dr. Ferrer.

Connecticut Children’s Medical Center has been awarded a $2 million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health – National Cancer Institute for a five-year study, “Sphingosine-1- Phosphate Pathway Based Therapy for Neuroblastoma.” The study, led by Connecticut Children’s Executive Vice President and Surgeon-in-Chief, Fernando Ferrer, MD, will investigate a novel approach to treating neuroblastoma, a deadly childhood tumor, by targeting a lipid signaling pathway essential to tumor growth.

“Our preliminary data suggests that targeting this pathway may be as effective as some of our best drugs and, when used in combination, has a significant greater ability to kill tumor cells,” explained Dr. Ferrer.

Dr. Ferrer has been investigating S1P signaling, which promotes the development of solid tumors, and has hypothesized about how the signaling may lead to the growth of tumors. He and his team have been testing how to stop tumor development; their efforts may offer a promising approach to treating Neuroblastoma tumors in the future.

“This is a significant achievement for Dr. Ferrer and Connecticut Children’s,” said Martin J. Gavin, President and CEO of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. “This award recognizes both the importance of Dr. Ferrer’s work among the scientific community and its potential to make a meaningful difference for children and families.”

Neuroblastoma is a cancerous tumor that develops from nerve tissue, typically occurring in infants and children. Extremely difficult to treat, in most patients Neuroblastoma has already spread when first diagnosed. It is most commonly identified in children before age five, and occurs in approximately one out of 100,000 children.

About Connecticut Children’s Medical Center
Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, the region’s only academic medical center dedicated exclusively to the care of children, is committed to improving children’s physical and emotional health through family-centered care, research, education and advocacy. Named one of America’s Best Children's Hospitals by U.S. News and World Report, Connecticut Children's offers a full range of quality pediatric services at its hospitals in Hartford and Waterbury, NICUs in Hartford and Farmington, Specialty Care Centers in Fairfield, Farmington, Glastonbury, Hartford and Shelton, and 11 other practice locations.

For more information, visit http://www.connecticutchildrens.org and connect with us on Twitter (@ctchildrens) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/connecticutchildrens).

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Kelly Coffey
Connecticut Children's Medical Center
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