Funding Childhood Cancer Research
Part of our mission is to provide childhood cancer funding. We are 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 childhood cancer research funding.
Scientific Advisory Board
The members of The B+ Foundation® Scientific Advisory Board are:
Dr. Peter C. Adamson
Dr. Andy Kolb
Dr. Julie R. Park
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
Dr. Michael Jensen
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
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
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.
Dr. Lewis Silverman
Recent B+ Grants Awarded to:
Dr. Sonali Barwe – A.I. duPont Hospital, Wilmington, DE
Dr. Oren Becher – Lurie Hospital, Chicago, IL
Dr. Eleanor Chen – University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Dr. Xingguo Li – University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
Dr. Reshmi Parameswaran, Case Western Reserve, Cleveland, OH
Dr. Ronald Parchem – Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
Dr. Kristopher Sarosiek – John B. Little Center for Radiation Sciences, Harvard Chan School
Dr. Bjoern Schwer – University of California, San Francisco, CA
Dr. Leo Wang – City of Hope, Duarte, CA
Doing this requires us to understand and manipulate protein-level events in CAR T cells, as proteins are the ultimate effectors of cellular function. Identifying proteins responsible for T cell persistence will be critical to keeping CAR T cells from disappearing. The best way to do that is with protein-focused techniques like mass spectrometry and mass cytometry.
I pioneered a groundbreaking technique for using mass spectrometry on small numbers of cells, which has not been possible before. We will use this and other protein-focused techniques, as well as biological models of brain tumors and the immune system, to identify a unique protein signature corresponding to T cell survival and persistence. We hypothesize that these activated protein circuits can be leveraged to improve CAR T cell persistence and efficacy.
Dr. Jason Yustein – Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
Recently our laboratory has created a new mouse model of metastatic osteosarcoma (OS) that mimics the human tumor development and progression. Using the tumors from this model, we have been able to analyze genes and determine pathways that are functioning abnormally, including the identification of key alterations within metastatic tumors in a key pathway in the cell known as the Wnt cascade.
Our proposal will continue to investigate the exact role of Wnt signaling during metastatic development, or evolution, through both innovative pre-clinical models as well as functional and therapeutic studies. Furthermore, using these models we will test a new therapeutic agent designed to target this pathway that one day can be brought to the clinical care of these patients. Therefore, by gaining a better understanding of the detailed role of Wnt signaling during metastatic development, we will elucidate novel molecular aberrations and further identification of novel therapies.