PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Kathleen Sakamoto, MD, PhD, and Irving Weissman, MD, of the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, have received a $1.37 million grant from CureSearch for Children's Cancer to research the effects of an antibody that has been shown to be effective against human cancers in animal models.
In a healthy person, when the body makes abnormal cells or when cells become old, the body's scavenger cells, called macrophages, eliminate them. When a person has cancer, the abnormal cells are not eliminated by the macrophages. Researchers under the leadership of Weissman, director of the Institute of Stem Cell Biology and of the Ludwig Center at Stanford, discovered that pediatric brain tumor, leukemia, bone tumor and neuroblastoma cells overproduce a cell-surface protein known as CD47. The overproduction of CD47 on cancer cells tells macrophages "don't eat me," allowing the disease to progress. Weissman's team tested an antibody to block the "don't eat me" signal in a variety of cancer cells and in animals and found that the strategy can be effective.
This grant will support our team’s efforts to learn more about the immune systems of pediatric cancer patients,” says Sakamoto, the Shelagh Galligan Professor and chief of the division of hematology and oncology, “and help pave the way toward our goal of developing new treatments for some of our most vulnerable patients.”
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Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford is the heart of Stanford Children’s Health, and is one of the nation’s top hospitals for the care of children and expectant mothers. For a decade, we have received the highest specialty rankings of any Northern California children’s hospital, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospitals survey, and are the only hospital in Northern California to receive the national 2013 Leapfrog Group Top Children’s Hospital award for quality and patient care safety. Discover more at stanfordchildrens.org.