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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Stanford Children’s Health, with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at its core, is the Bay Area’s largest health care enterprise exclusively dedicated to children and expectant mothers. As the top-ranked children’s hospital in Northern California, and one of just 11 nationwide to be named on the 2016-17 U.S. News & World Report Best Children’s Hospitals Honor Roll, Packard Children’s Hospital is a leader in world-class, nurturing care and extraordinary outcomes in every pediatric and obstetric specialty. Stanford Children’s Health offers care ranging from the routine to rare, regardless of a family’s ability to pay. Together with Stanford Medicine physicians, nurses, and staff, Stanford Children’s Health can be accessed through partnerships, collaborations, outreach, specialty clinics and primary care practices at more than 60 locations across Northern California and 100 locations in the U.S. western region. As a non-profit, Stanford Children’s Health is committed to supporting the community – from caring for uninsured or underinsured kids, homeless teens and pregnant moms, to training the next generation of doctors and medical professionals. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in 2016, Stanford Children’s Health looks forward to the fall 2017 debut of its expanded pediatric and obstetric hospital campus. Discover more at stanfordchildrens.org and on the Healthier, Happy Lives blog. Join Stanford Children’s Health on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.