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Funding Type: St. Baldrick's Fellow
Institution Location: Houston, TX
Institution: Baylor College of Medicine affiliated with Texas Children's Hospital, Vannie E. Cook Jr. Children's Cancer and Hematology Clinic
Ewing sarcoma (ES) is the second most common bone cancer in children. Approximately 25% of children with ES have metastasis, which are tumors that have spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs. It is especially difficult to treat these children and more than 70% die within 5 years. Therefore, it is important to learn about what it is that allows these tumors to spread and hopefully develop new drugs to treat these patients. Certain proteins are expressed at much higher levels in metastatic lung tumors compared to the primary bone tumor, suggesting that these proteins play a role in allowing the tumor to spread. As the Team Clarkie Fund St. Baldrick's Fellow, Dr. Wulff is studying the role of these proteins by increasing or decreasing them, and then testing how this affects the cancers ability to grow and spread. Dr. Wulff's team thinks that the cancers ability to spread can be decreased by decreasing a particular set of proteins. In addition, she is testing new drugs that inhibit the function of these proteins, with the hope to identify new therapies that will improve overall survival rates for patients with metastatic ES. Clarkie Carroll was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma in his upper right femur in 2013. He endured surgery and treatments with strength, positivity and a sense of humor. Today he has no evidence of disease. A portion of this grant is funded by the Team Clarkie Fund, created to honor Clarkie and ensure researchers have the resources to further Ewing’s sarcoma research as well as stimulate greater awareness and inspire others to believe pediatric cancer research can and will lead to a cure.