B+ Research Grants
The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation is humbled and appreciative to have such a distinguished panel of world-class pediatric oncology clinicians and researchers on The B+ Foundation Scientific Advisory Board. Upon the recommendations of this esteemed group, The B+ Foundation looks forward to continuing to play a very active role in funding cutting-edge childhood cancer research.
Scientific Advisory Board
The members of The B+ Foundation Scientific Advisory Board are:
Dr. Peter C. Adamson
Dr. Andy Kolb
Dr. Julie R. Park
Julie R. Park, MD is attending physician at Seattle Children’s Hospital, professor in pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine and associate in the Clinical Research Division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC). She is director of the pediatric hematology-oncology fellowship at the University of Washington.
Dr. Park is an active member of the Children’s Oncology Group Consortium and as chair of the COG Neuroblastoma Scientific Committee provides leadership for the development of neuroblastoma clinical research within COG. Dr. Park’s primary research focus has been investigating novel therapies for the treatment of high-risk neuroblastoma, a rare but aggressive form of childhood cancer. She has conducted a multi-center clinical trial to determine the feasibility and toxicity of a novel induction chemotherapy regimen for high risk neuroblastoma and has collaborated with local and national investigators to optimize the use of radiation therapy as part of treatment for neuroblastoma. Dr. Park’s work has led to her development of the current national randomized phase III trial within COG for treatment of newly diagnosed high-risk neuroblastoma.. Dr. Park has ongoing collaborations with Dr. Michael Jensen and is currently the primary investigator on an early phase clinical trial that uses adoptive immunotherapy approaches to treat neuroblastoma. Dr. Park also leads the Advanced Therapeutics Program at Seattle Children’s Hospital and has steered Seattle Children’s into becoming a leading participant in the Phase I Consortium of COG and the New Approaches to Neuroblastoma Therapy Consortium. She has been actively involved in the development of novel chemotherapeutic agents that may block critical tumor cell pathways necessary for tumor cell growth and survival.
Dr. Todd Druley, MD, PhD
Todd Druley, MD, PhD is a board-certified pediatric hematologist/oncologist and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Developmental Biology and Genetics at Washington University School of Medicine. He obtained a BS in Cell and Structural Biology and a minor in Chemistry from the University of Illinois. He then completed the MD/PhD program at the University of Illinois, where he studied mechanisms of chemotherapy resistance. In 2002, Dr. Druley joined Washington University as a pediatric resident and has remained; completing his fellowship in Pediatric Hematology and Oncology and joining the faculty in 2008. He is a member of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) Myeloid Disease Committee and Epidemiology Committee. Research in the Druley Lab is based on characterizing the link between abnormal human development and early childhood cancer, particularly infant leukemia. The lab has a track record for genomic methodology development and is currently applying that technology with the COG to improve molecular diagnostics in pediatric AML. Clinically, Dr. Druley is focused on pediatric cancer predisposition and serves as the co-director of the Pediatric Cancer Predisposition Program at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen, MD is director of the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and professor of hematology-oncology at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He is member of the clinical division in the Program in Immunology at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC). Jensen holds the Janet and Jim Sinegal Endowed Chair in Pediatric Solid Tumor Research in Honor of Korey Rose.
Dr. Michael Jensen graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine then completed training in Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at the University of Washington/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. His laboratory work began under the mentorship of Dr. Philip Greenberg, Program Head in Immunology, FHCRC and focused on the immunobiology of tumor-specific T-cells. Following completion of his fellowship, Dr. Jensen joined the faculty at the City of Hope National Medical Center where he built a translational research program integrating gene therapy and cellular immunotherapy for cancer. This program grew in to the Department of Cancer Immunotherapeutics & Tumor Immunology within the Beckman Research Institute and was incorporated into the institution’s NCI-Comprehensive Cancer Center as the Cancer Immunotherapeutics Program with Dr Jensen as its leader. During his tenure at City of Hope, Dr Jensen’s research program placed a strong emphasis on bench-to-bedside translational research and resulted in seven FDA-authorized Investigational New Drug Applications covering first-in-human applications of adoptive transfer of genetically engineered T-cells having re-directed tumor specificity for lymphoma, neuroblastoma, and malignant gliomas. In 2010, Dr Jensen joined the University of Washington School of Medicine faculty as a Professor of Pediatrics and is the founding director of the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research. Dr. Jensen is an Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering and Neurological Surgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine and a Joint Member of the Clinical Research Division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Dr. Jensen is an Associate Head of the Immunology and Vaccine Development Program of the UW-FHCRC Cancer Consortium and is a SU2C Dream Team Principal Investigator on the recently awarded Pediatric Cancer Research Immunogenomics Dream Team award.
Dr. A. Thomas Look
A. Thomas Look, MD, is a Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Pediatric Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, as well as co-leader of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center’s Leukemia Program. Over the past three decades, Dr. Look has published multiple peer-reviewed papers about the molecular basis of cancer and the application of molecular genetic findings to improve the treatment of childhood malignancies, particularly T-cell acute leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome and neuroblastoma. He moved from St Jude Children’s Research Hospital to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in 1999 specifically to establish a research program in the zebrafish model, to conduct genetic studies aimed at the identification of novel targets for cancer therapy, and he is now internationally recognized as a leader in this field.
His initial work led to the first transgenic model of leukemia in the zebrafish, paving the way for small-molecule drug and targeted genetic modifier experiments in a vertebrate disease model. More recently, his laboratory has developed the first zebrafish transgenic model of childhood neuroblastoma, opening up the opportunity to apply the powerful genetic technology available in the zebrafish to identify new molecular targets for therapy in this devastating childhood tumor.
He is the principal investigator on several NIH-funded grants, including a Program Project focusing on T-ALL pathogenesis. He has won numerous awards, including the Allison Eberlein Award for Childhood Leukemia Research, the Award for Excellence from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Pediatric Oncology Lectureship of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the ASPHO Frank A. Oski Memorial Lectureship Award of the American Society of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, and he is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Dr. Look received his MD degree and postgraduate training in Pediatrics from the University of Michigan, and his fellowship training in Pediatric Oncology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Prior to his appointment at Harvard, he was a professor at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine.
Dr. Stephen Skapek
Stephen Skapek, MD holds the Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Oncology Research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where he serves as the Chief of the Division of Hematology-Oncology in the Department of Pediatrics, and the Medical Director the Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas.
Dr. Skapek graduated from the Duke University School of Medicine, completed his pediatric residency training at the Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas, and completed fellowship training in pediatric hematology and oncology at the Harvard Medical School’s Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital.
After completing his training, Dr. Skapek has focused clinical work on caring for children with rhabdomyosarcoma and other soft tissue sarcomas, and he has carried out both laboratory-based research in cancer and developmental biology and clinical research through the Children’s Oncology Group, which he serves as a member of the Scientific Council and Executive Committee and also as vice-Chair of the Soft Tissue Sarcoma Committee.
Featured Research Grant:
Phase I Polio Oncolytic Virotherapy (PVS-RIPO) of Pediatric High-Grade Glioma
Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC
The B+ Foundation is pleased to support this exciting new immunotherapy for children with deadly brain tumors conducted by Dr. Oren Becher at Duke University.
Oncolytic viruses are capable of stimulating immune responses against tumor-associated antigens that can produce lasting immunologic control of cancers. PVS-RIPO is a polio-derived oncolytic virus engineered to selectively kill brain tumor cells, and has shown some dramatic responses without toxicity in adults with universally fatal recurrent glioblastoma. This has garnered the attention of the oncology research community and was highlighted by 60 minutes in March 2015, and now will be available to pediatric patients in mid-2016. This pediatric trial will enroll 10-15 children with recurrent high-grade gliomas, and the PVS-RIPO poliovirus is directed to the tumor by convection-enhanced delivery. The researchers will determine the optimum dose and any toxicities
There are promising therapies in adults that The B+ Foundation has worked hard to make available to children with deadly tumors and no options. Given the promising results in adults, expectations are high this will be very effective in children as well. Read more about the development of this oncolytic virus.
The B+ Foundation provided the essential support to this exciting work, summed up by oncologist Dr. Henry Friedman: “This, to me, is the most promising therapy I’ve seen in my career, period.”