Benjamin Mizukawa, M.D., received a three-year, $330,000 St. Baldrick’s Scholar award to support his work focused on acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Although most leukemia cells are readily killed by chemotherapy, if the leukemia stem cell is not killed in treatment, chances of survival are very low.
“We are studying how leukemia stem cells maintain self-renewal, or the ability to give rise to new leukemia cells,” Dr. Mizukawa explained. “By understanding the signals needed for self-renewal, we hope to identify new drugs to eliminate the leukemia stem cell and prevent relapsed disease.”
St. Baldrick’s also awarded a $404,917 consortium grant to support the ongoing work of a group of pediatric oncology researchers studying pleuropulmonary blastoma (PPB), a rare lung cancer of young children.
In addition to the lab research funded by the grant, doctors also hope to establish the first-ever clinical study of PPB therapy.
“We aim to understand why and how some kids develop tumors and others do not. We also are focused on determining why kids with the same tumor respond differently to treatment,” said Dr. Kathryn Wikenheiser-Brokamp, lead physician-scientist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. “Our goal is to then use what we learn to improve the lives of each child with cancer by giving them the best treatment possible.”