Stand Up To Cancer and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation Grant $1.86 Million to Seattle Children’s Research Institute
Dr. Michael Jensen, director of Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children's Research Institute
April 08, 2013
Dream Team of seven institutions receive $14.5 million to develop therapies for most challenging-to-cure childhood cancers
Stand Up To Cancer and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, along with
the American Association for Cancer Research,
announced the formation of a Dream Team dedicated to childhood cancer research
during a press conference held April 7, 2013, in Washington, D.C. Michael Jensen, MD, director of Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at
Seattle Children’s Research Institute, is one of seven members of the Dream
Stand Up To Cancer and St. Baldrick’s will
provide $1.86 million in funding to Seattle Children’s Research Institute over
four years for a project that unites researchers across the country in genomics
and immunotherapeutics. Genomics is the detailed analysis of the complete set
of DNA within a sample and can be used to dissect the cause and progression of
cancer. Immunotherapeutics is the study and development of treatments that
employ the body’s own immune system to fight against disease.
work falls under cancer immunotherapy, in which a patient’s own T
cells are genetically modified to recognize cancer cells and attack them just
as unmodified cells attack a viral infection. The modified T cells make an artificial receptor that acts
like a Velcro molecule, allowing them to recognize and attack cancer cells. Jensen was the
first to describe the specific chimeric receptor for targeting leukemia.
Seattle Children’s is one of only a few pediatric centers
in the U.S. working on an immunological approach to curing cancer – and the
only center west of the Rocky Mountains with an open trial and the capability
to modify and manufacture the T cells.
Jensen and his team received the green light from the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration to conduct a trial of cancer immunotherapy
treatment for children and young adults with relapsed acute lymphoblastic
“It takes leadership that thinks outside of
the box to move the needle on pediatric cancer research,” said Jensen. “The
Dream Team initiative will help all of our institutions, since funding is
currently a challenge for researchers in the U.S. We’re all aiming for the same
goal—to revolutionize how childhood cancer is treated, and to reduce
or eliminate the need for chemotherapy and radiation treatments that have
debilitating lifelong effects on those who survive cancer.”
addition to Seattle Children’s, researchers on the Dream Team represent The
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the National Cancer Institute, the
University of British Columbia, Baylor College of Medicine, The Hospital for
Sick Children in Toronto and the University of Wisconsin. While researchers at
the NCI will be participating fully as members of the Dream Team, in accordance
with policy, no funds from the grant are going to the NCI.
The project is estimated to start July 1, 2013, with the first clinical trials scheduled to open within the first year.
About Seattle Children’s Research Institute
Located in downtown Seattle’s biotech corridor, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is pushing the boundaries of medical research to find cures for pediatric diseases and improve outcomes for children all over the world. Internationally recognized investigators and staff at the research institute are advancing new discoveries in cancer, genetics, immunology, pathology, infectious disease, injury prevention and bioethics, among others. As part of Seattle Children’s Hospital, the research institute brings together leading minds in pediatric research to provide patients with the best care possible. Seattle Children’s serves as the primary teaching, clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, which consistently ranks as one of the best pediatric departments in the country. For more information, visit http://www.seattlechildrens.org/research.