Public Release: 

Georgetown scientist awarded Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Innovation Grant

Georgetown University Medical Center

WASHINGTON (July 20, 2015) - Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), a nonprofit dedicated to finding better treatments and ultimately cures for all children with cancer, has awarded a 2015 Innovation Grant to Todd Waldman, MD, PhD, a professor of oncology at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The foundation says the two-year, $250,000 grant awarded to Waldman (as well as to 21 other U.S. scientists) is to pursue "unique projects," all in response to ALSF founder Alexandra "Alex" Scott's simple message: "All children want their tumors to go away."

Waldman will lead a research team studying Ewing sarcoma, an aggressive, sometimes lethal pediatric bone cancer. Though rare, it is the subject of much research because once the tumor recurs or spreads, it is difficult to treat successfully.

One of the most common genetic alterations in Ewing Sarcoma is called STAG2. STAG2 is a gene whose role in cancer was first described by Waldman in 2011, and is among the most commonly mutated genes in human cancer. "The overall mission of our research is to understand how mutations in STAG2 cause Ewing sarcoma, and to identify ways to target this mutant gene with new therapies," explains Waldman.

According to the Foundation, Innovation Grants were created to provide critical and significant seed funding for experienced researchers with novel and promising approaches to finding the causes and cures for childhood cancers.

"Foundation support for early stages of research is critical to augment the serious funding cuts the National Institutes of Health have experienced," says Waldman. "These are the kinds of projects that are so important because a successful outcome could change the course of cancer."

"Through our Innovation Grants, we encourage investigators to push their research forward toward breakthroughs in childhood cancers and ultimately new clinical interventions," said Jay Scott, Alex's father and co-executive director of ALSF. "The crop of 2014 recipients show great promise in not only moving us toward cures, but in their novel thinking to uncover important findings along the way."

###

About Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center

Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Georgetown University Medical Center and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, seeks to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer through innovative basic and clinical research, patient care, community education and outreach, and the training of cancer specialists of the future. Georgetown Lombardi is one of only 41 comprehensive cancer centers in the nation, as designated by the National Cancer Institute, and the only one in the Washington, DC, area. For more information, go to http://lombardi.georgetown.edu.

About Georgetown University Medical Center

Georgetown University Medical Center is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through MedStar Health). GUMC's mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis -- or "care of the whole person." The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing & Health Studies, both nationally ranked; Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute; and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization (BGRO), which accounts for the majority of externally funded research at GUMC including a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.