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Melissa Mavers M.D., Ph.D.
Funded: 07-01-2016 through 06-30-2018
Funding Type: St. Baldrick's Fellow
Institution Location: Palo Alto, CA
Institution: Stanford University affiliated with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital

Many children with cancer cannot be cured with chemotherapy alone and must undergo bone marrow transplantation. This treatment permits very high doses of chemotherapy to cure the cancer then rebuilds the immune system, which is destroyed by such high chemotherapy doses. In many cases, rebuilding a new immune system causes the new immune cells to attack the body, which is called graft-versus-host disease. Graft-versus-host disease can damage many organs. Dr. Mavers is studying ways to use special cell types to stop graft-versus-host disease and make stem cell transplantation a safer way to cure cancer. This is made with generous support from the Rays of Hope Hero Fund that honors the memory of Rayanna Marrero by giving hope through research funding. She is remembered for her infectious smile and energetic spirit that continue to inspire so many.