Stanford Medicine Investigators Awarded $1.37 Million Grant for Children's Cancer Research

Kathleen Sakamoto, MD, PhD, and Irving Weissman, MD, Receive CureSearch Grant

For Release: November 6, 2013

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.”


Robert Dicks

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