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Monika Davare Ph.D.
Funded: 07-01-2017 through 06-30-2018
Funding Type: Research Grant
Institution Location: Portland, OR
Institution: Oregon Health and Science University affiliated with Doernbecher Children's Hospital

Children with cancer continue to succumb to their disease, many after receiving toxic therapies like chemotherapy and radiation. Also, surviving children face life long negative health consequences ranging from learning disabilities, to more severe effects such as a higher chance of getting another cancer in adulthood. Therefore, additional, rigorous scientific research needs to be performed to develop new and effective treatment options for these kids. Cancer growing inside the body hides in plain sight of the immune system. This is because cancer cells evolve to escape recognition by the immune cells. Therefore reawakening the immune system could be a very effective way of using a patients' own attacker cells to engulf cancer cells and get rid of the disease. Dr. Davare is working to discover and test new ways to reactivate immune cells for attacking cancer cells. For this project, she has developed an innovative method to identify synthetic molecules that will uncloak the cancer cell and make it visible to the immune system for destruction. This research strategy, in the long run, will open new doors and has the potential to not only increase survival of children with cancer, but their long term quality of life as well. This grant is named for Hannah’s Heroes, a St. Baldrick’s Hero Fund created in honor of Hannah Meeson and pays tribute to her fight by raising awareness and funding for all childhood cancers because kids like Hannah “are worth fighting for.”