Santa Cruz Tech Beat


UC Santa Cruz pediatric cancer project receives $250,000 to fight high-risk neuroblastoma

By Kayla Bernard and Branwyn Wagman
UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute

July 9, 2015 — Santa Cruz, CA

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation advances groundbreaking research to identify new treatment options

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) has awarded the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute an innovation grant of $250,000 over two years to advance research on two groundbreaking approaches for identifying treatment options for children with neuroblastoma.

“Neuroblastoma is one of the most enigmatic pediatric cancers,” said postdoctoral scholar Olena Morozova, project lead for the Treehouse Childhood Cancer Project at the Genomics Institute. “Despite extensive studies of patients’ tumor DNA conducted by the NCI’s TARGET initiative and others, we still lack treatment targets for the majority of high-risk neuroblastoma patients.”

One approach the project is pursuing explores whether data collected from neuroblastoma patients can be harnessed to identify therapies that will use the patient’s own immune system to fight the cancer. David Haussler, scientific director of the Genomics Institute, explained that such approaches have led to lasting remissions in cases of metastatic melanoma and other adult cancers, but so far have had limited application in children.

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