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

08/06/13  Portland, Ore.

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.

About St. Baldrick’s Foundation

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives. Since 2005, St. Baldrick’s has awarded more than $125 million to support lifesaving research, making the Foundation the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants. St. Baldrick’s funds are granted to some of the most brilliant childhood cancer research experts in the world and to younger professionals who will be the experts of tomorrow. Funds awarded also enable hundreds of local institutions to participate in national pediatric cancer clinical trials. For more information about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation please call 1.888.899.BALD or visit www.StBaldricks.org.

About OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital

OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital ranks among the nation’s top children’s hospitals* and is one of only 22 NIH-designated Child Health Research Centers in the country. Nationally recognized physicians and nurses at OHSU Doernbecher provide a full range of pediatric care to tens of thousands of children each year from Oregon, Southwest Washington and around the nation in a patient- and family-centered environment. Hospital clinicians travel throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, providing specialty care to more than 3,000 children at more than 200 outreach clinics in 15 locations, and through OHSU Doernbecher’s state-of-the-art telemedicine network, neonatal and pediatric critical care specialists provide consultations to community hospitals statewide.
*U.S. News & World Report 2013-14 Best Children’s Hospitals