Medical Advisory Board Selects New Scientists for Funding

We are proud to introduce five new early career scientists who were recently selected for funding by our Medical Advisory Board! 

Dr. Angieszka Czechowicz / Stanford University School of Medicine

Title of Grant:
“Development of anti-KIT antibodies and immunotoxins as therapeutics and HSCT conditioning agents for pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML)”

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a frequent type of leukemia with harsh treatments and poor outcomes. We have pioneered several new antibody therapies targeting an important receptor found both on blood stem cells and AML, which may cure the disease. We propose testing these antibodies in various models of AML.

Dr. Sahand Hormoz  / Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Title of Grant:
“Reconstructing the differentiation dynamics and genealogy of cancer cells in individual patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms using single-cell sequencing”

In a type of blood cancer called myeloproliferative neoplasm, the same genetic alteration results in drastically different forms of the disease in different patients. To understand this discrepancy, we will measure the molecular profile of individual cells obtained from patients and reconstruct the genealogical history of the cancer cells.

Dr. Pengda Liu / University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Title of Grant:
“Targeting the Innate Immunity-Independent Function of STING in treating AML”

This proposal is to test if inhibiting a deubiquitinase named OTUD7B retards AML growth. We found that AML growth is controlled by an immunity sensor STING through activating an oncogenic kinase called mTOR. This process is facilitated by OTUD7B. Thus, inhibiting OTUD7B suppresses STING-mediated mTOR activation and subsequent AML growth.

Dr. Naama Kanarek / Boston Children’s Hospital

Title of Grant:   
“A simple dietary supplement to improve pediatric blood cancer therapy

We propose to improve the use of methotrexate – the standard pediatric leukemia drug – with a simple dietary supplement. By enhancing methotrexate’s efficacy, and better monitoring patients’ responses to the drug, we aim to reduce the therapy’s long-term side effects and offer hope to young patients with a severe prognosis.

Dr. Marco Ruella  / University of Pennsylvania

Title of Grant:
“Increasing the Therapeutic Index of Chimeric Antigen Receptor T cells for T cell Lymphomas”

Our goal is to bring the unquestioned power of CAR T cell therapy to bear on T cell lymphomas, a group of diseases with a poor prognosis and few treatment options. We will use the latest gene-editing tools to make an effective and safe immunotherapy.