AACR and St. Baldrick’s Foundation Announce Pediatric Cancer Research Grant Recipient
November 15, 2023
For Immediate Release
PHILADELPHIA – The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation today announced that Alanna Joyce Church, MD, has received the AACR-St. Baldrick’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Research Grant, a one-year, $75,000 grant recognizing junior-level faculty members who have demonstrated promise for continued substantive contributions to pediatric cancer research.
Church is an assistant professor of pathology at Boston Children’s Hospital. Her research focuses on bringing molecular testing to the clinical care of children with cancer and on addressing many of the barriers facing pediatric patients, including the availability and design of molecular tests, the availability of targeted treatments, and issues pertaining to reimbursement for testing. Through institutional and national initiatives, Church’s team has profiled thousands of children’s tumors and used the results to make real-time impacts on their diagnoses and treatments.
The AACR-St. Baldrick’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Research Grant is linked to the AACR-St. Baldrick’s Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement in Pediatric Cancer Research. Each recipient of this prestigious scientific award has the opportunity to nominate early-career researchers to be considered for the grant. A selection committee then chooses the grant recipient from the list of candidates provided by the awardee. This process thereby establishes an ongoing mentor-mentee relationship between the awardee and the grant recipient.
Church was nominated for this grant by David Malkin, MD, senior staff oncologist in the Division of Haematology/Oncology, director of the Cancer Genetics Program, and senior scientist in the Genetics and Genome Biology program at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), Toronto. Malkin received the 2022 AACR-St. Baldrick’s Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement in Pediatric Cancer Research for his paradigm-shifting holistic approaches to treating pediatric cancer, for discovering the link between germline mutations in the TP53 tumor suppressor gene and the Li-Fraumeni cancer susceptibility syndrome, and for establishing the “Toronto protocol” for tumor surveillance in patients with Li-Fraumeni syndrome. He initiated the first childhood cancer predisposition clinic, which has served as the gold standard for the management of families with cancer predisposition syndromes, while spearheading cancer genomic efforts including sophisticated diagnostic, prognostic, and surveillance tools for the management of such patients.
The AACR and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation established the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Pediatric Cancer Research and the related Pediatric Cancer Research Grant in 2019 to spotlight significant scientific accomplishments while simultaneously fostering the career advancement of early-career pediatric cancer researchers. Recipients of both the award and the grant are honored at the AACR Annual Meeting each April.
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About the American Association for Cancer Research
Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the world’s first and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR membership includes more than 54,000 laboratory, translational, and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and patient advocates residing in 130 countries and territories around the world. Presently, 32% of members live outside the United States and 22% of AACR’s international members are located in countries with emerging economies. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer by annually convening more than 30 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting. In addition, the AACR publishes 10 prestigious, peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients, and their caregivers. The AACR funds meritorious research directly as well as in cooperation with numerous cancer organizations. As the Scientific Partner of Stand Up To Cancer, the AACR provides expert peer review, grants administration, and scientific oversight of team science and individual investigator grants in cancer research that have the potential for near-term patient benefit. The AACR actively communicates with legislators and other policymakers about the value of cancer research and related biomedical science in saving lives from cancer. For more information about the AACR, visit www.AACR.org.
About the St. Baldrick’s Foundation
Every 2 minutes, a child somewhere in the world is diagnosed with cancer. In the U.S., 1 in 5 will not survive. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest charity funder of childhood cancer research grants, is on a mission to give kids a lifetime by supporting the most promising research to find cures and better treatments for all childhood cancers. When you give to St. Baldrick’s, you don’t just give to one hospital – you support virtually every institution with the expertise to treat kids with cancer across the U.S. St. Baldrick’s ensures that children fighting cancer now — and those diagnosed in the future — will have access to the most cutting-edge treatment, by supporting every stage of research, from new ideas in the lab to the development of new therapies, to life-saving clinical trials. Join us at StBaldricks.org and help #GiveKidsALifetime.
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