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$100,000 childhood cancer research grant awarded to OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital

Part of more than $22 million awarded in new grants by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-driven and donor-centered charity dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research, is proud to award a one-year $100,000 St. Baldrick’s Research Grant to Peter Kurre, M.D., at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Kurre’s research focuses on children with relapsed acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The underlying drug resistance is partly related to the protective role of the bone marrow microenvironment, where leukemia cells grow. Kurre’s team has recently discovered that AML cells release small amounts of material in the bone marrow microenvironment that cause changes to promote leukemia progression. Kurre is working to better understand these changes and how these changes can reprogram the leukemia bone marrow to protect residual AML cells that lead to relapse.

“St. Baldrick’s remains focused on supporting innovative pediatric cancer research. This funding is critical for us to help improve outcomes for children with leukemia and to develop the next generation of treatments to conquer childhood cancer,” said Kurre, an associate professor of pediatric hematology/oncology in the Papé Family Pediatric Research Institute at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, and a member of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.

Through the vigorous efforts of volunteers and supporters in the United States and around the world, the foundation is not only honored to award this local grant, but will fund a total of more than $22 million in its 2013 summer grant cycle.

“These grants are one step toward filling the critical gap that exists between the research dollars spent per child with cancer and those spent per adult,” said Kathleen Ruddy, chief executive officer of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. “When one considers the total landscape of available funding from government, industry and philanthropy, it is apparent children are being left behind. Great progress has been made in treatments for many types of cancers that plague adults, but the same level of progress has been made in only a few forms of cancer in children. That needs to change.”

This year three St. Baldrick’s signature head-shaving events where held in Portland, Ore., raising more than $174,000 for life-saving research.

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