Children's Hospital researcher leads multipronged attack on infant leukemia

While survival rates for childhood leukemia have dramatically improved over the past 30 years, infants with this blood cancer continue to face difficult odds. Infant leukemia resists treatments such as chemotherapy and stem cell transplants that may be effective in older children, and infants are especially vulnerable to treatment side effects.

A new research effort led by a leukemia expert at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia seeks to harness in-depth understanding of genes and molecular pathways to develop highly specific drugs designed to kill leukemia cells while causing few or no toxic effects on normal cells.

A five-year, $6.25 million Specialized Center of Research (SCOR) grant from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society brings together a diverse study team of researchers from leading medical centers to develop innovative treatments for infant leukemia. "Our goal is to streamline advances in molecular medicine to find new treatment options," said Carolyn A. Felix, M.D., principal investigator of the SCOR grant. A pediatric oncologist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Dr. Felix also is a professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

The society recently announced its grant award in targeted therapies for infant leukemia from its national office in White Plains, N.Y. The SCOR grant draws on research collaborators from a variety of disciplines to discover new approaches to treatment.

In addition to researchers from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania, the grant includes collaborators from the University of New Mexico, Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University and Tulane University.

Especially integral to this effort to advance new treatments from bench to bedside, the investigators also will work closely with the Children's Oncology Group, the cooperative clinical research organization of pediatric cancer centers throughout North

Contact: John Ascenzi
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

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