Nemours Center for Childhood Cancer Research Receives Over $1 Million in Grants for Cancer Research in 2008

The research team at the Nemours Center for Childhood Cancer Research (NCCCR), a newly established division of Nemours Biomedical Research headquartered at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE, has secured $1,020,000 in external funding for awards starting in 2008 and 2009.

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These grants recognize the innovative research taking place at Nemours and we expect to deliver a tremendous payoff in the way pediatric cancers are diagnosed and treated in the future.

Florida (Vocus) January 8, 2009

The research team at the Nemours Center for Childhood Cancer Research (NCCCR), a newly established division of Nemours Biomedical Florida - The research team at the Nemours Center for Childhood Cancer Research (NCCCR), a newly established division of Nemours Biomedical Research headquartered at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE, has secured $1,020,000 in external funding for awards starting in 2008 and 2009. The NCCCR was established in 2007 to integrate cancer research and clinical studies throughout the Nemours enterprise that has clinics in Florida (Jacksonville, Orlando, and Pensacola) in addition to the hospital in Wilmington DE.

"The more than $1 million in grants secured will allow Nemours doctors and scientists to expand our groundbreaking cancer studies," says Dr. Ayyappan K. Rajasekaran, the Director of NCCCR. "These grants recognize the innovative research taking place at Nemours and we expect to deliver a tremendous payoff in the way pediatric cancers are diagnosed and treated in the future."

Eric Sandler, MD, was awarded a $50,000 infrastructure award from the St. Baldricks Foundation to support expansion of the developmental therapeutics program being started at Nemours Children's Clinic in Jacksonville, FL. The goal of this grant is to have experimental drug trials available for children with cancer in the State of Florida. Currently, there is no Phase I cancer center for children in Florida. As a result, Florida children eligible for such studies must go out of state. In conjunction with the Moffitt Cancer Center, All Children's Hospital and the Florida Sunshine Project, Nemours is opening several studies of experimental cancer treatments that will be available to children in Florida.

Sigrid A. Rajasekaran, PhD, was awarded a four-year $720,000 grant from the American Cancer Society to study the mechanism of increased function of growth factors in cancer cells. Growth factors and their binding partners called receptors are increased in a wide spectrum of human cancers, including bladder cancer, renal carcinoma, lung cancer, and brain tumors such as glioblastoma and childhood tumors such as medulloblastoma. In several tumor types, increased receptor levels correlate with poor prognosis. Therefore, growth factor receptors are a promising target for cancer therapy. There are several ongoing clinical trials in various institutions using inhibitors of various growth factor receptors to stop the growth of cancer cells. The project funded by the American Cancer Society will study the molecular mechanism by which ionic imbalance contributes to growth factor receptor activation in cancer cells. Findings should provide new insights into novel therapeutic approaches to target growth factor receptors in cancer cells.

Robert W. Mason, PhD, was awarded a 2-year $200,000 grant from the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation to study a new approach to treat neuroblastoma, a common childhood cancer that is very difficult to treat when discovered in children older than 2 years of age. The treatments that are being used today are the same as those used to treat adult cancers and unfortunately they do not work well. Dr. Masons's laboratory discovered a compound that could destroy neuroblastoma cells without affecting other rapidly growing cells, promising a new kind of treatment for this cancer that will be less harmful to normal tissues in children. In this new project, Dr. Mason's team will learn how this compound causes death of the cancer cells so that Nemours can collaborate with pharmaceutical companies to make better drugs to treat this childhood cancer.

Anders E. Kolb, MD, received a one year $50,000 grant from the FOSTER Foundation to study Insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-1R) inhibitors in osteosarcoma, a common bone cancer in children. Inhibitors of IGF-1R have shown promising early results in clinical trials in patients with osteosarcoma. In this proposal, Dr. Kolb will evaluate gene expression changes in osteosarcoma tumors sensitive and resistant to IGF-1R inhibition. An understanding of the cellular events that occur after IGF-1R inhibition will help identify rational therapeutic combinations with other targeted agents; identify markers of response; and provide valuable information about osteosarcoma biology.

About the Nemours Center for Childhood Cancer Research
The Nemours Center for Childhood Cancer Research is a newly established research entity of Nemours Biomedical Research at the Alfred I. duPont hospital for children. The NCCCR is located in a fully renovated laboratory space in 1701 Rockland Road, Wilmington, DE. The goal of the center is to evolve into a leader in research focusing on biomarkers for childhood cancers and cancers that affect families. The NCCCR will closely work together with Helen F. Graham Cancer Center, University of Delaware, Center for Translational Research and the Delaware Biotechnology Institute. The Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children is a division of Nemours, which operates one of the nation's largest health systems devoted to pediatric patient care, teaching, and research. Set on a 300-acre campus near Wilmington, Delaware, the 200-bed duPont Hospital for Children offers all the specialties of pediatric medicine, surgery, and dentistry. Starting with Alfred I. duPont's bequest over 70 years ago, Nemours has grown into a multi-dimensional organization offering personalized clinical and preventive care focused on children. For more information, please visit Nemours.org.

Odette Struys
Public Relations
Tel.:904-697-4186

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