Alex’s Lemonade Stand Awards $1.35 Million to Boston Researchers

Researchers from Dana Farber, MGH, and Boston Children's are making efforts to fight childhood cancer.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), a nonprofit dedicated to finding cures for childhood cancer, announced that it awarded more than $7 million in new medical research grants to doctors and researchers at 24 institutions and universities in 14 states across the country. ALSF is named after Alexandra “Alex” Scott, who stated simply that “all children want their tumors to go away”. Alexandra was diagnosed with cancer on her first birthday and passed away at age 8.

“Since the beginning of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, we have strived to lead the way to better treatments and ultimately cures for all kids with cancer,” says Jay Scott, Alex’s dad and Co-Executive Director of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. “We have seen immense progress since our first grant cycle, but we know there is a great deal of work ahead. Until there are cures for all childhood cancers, and all children will fulfill the promise of a long life, we will continue to fund the work of leading researchers and institutions as they work toward that very mission.”

The current grant cycle released awards in three categories: Innovation, Young Investigator, and Epidemiology. According to ALSF, these are the three awards:

Innovation Awards ($250,000 over two years) – provide critical and significant seed funding designed for experienced investigators with a novel and promising approach to finding causes and cures for childhood cancers.

Epidemiology Awards ($200,000 over two years) – designed to support the research of investigators who have a specific focus on the epidemiology of childhood cancer, early detection of childhood cancer or the prevention of childhood cancer.

Young Investigator Awards ($100,000 over two years) – designed to fill the critical need for start up funds for new researchers and physicians to pursue promising research ideas.

Here in Boston, more than $1.35 million in grants were awarded. Here is where the money went and why:

Innovation Awards ($250,000)

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Charles Roberts, M.D., Ph.D.
Therapeutically Targeting a Tumor Suppressor Complex in Aggressive Pediatric Cancers

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Loren Walensky, M.D., Ph.D.
Reactivating Apoptosis in Refractory Pediatric Cancer by Molecular Inhibition of MCL-1

Massachusetts General Hospital
David Langenau, M.D.
Novel Therapeutic Targets in Relapse T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Young Investigator Awards ($100,000)

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Hao-Ru Jessie Hsu, Ph.D.
The Role of Prmt1 in Osteosarcoma Initiation and Metastasis

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Andrew A. Lane, M.D., Ph.D.
Histone Modification and Hmgn1 Overexpression as Drivers of B-ALL with Polysomy 21

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Shizhen Zhu, M.D., Ph.D.
The Role of PTPRD as a Tumor Suppressor in Neuroblastoma Pathogenesis

Massachusetts General Hospital
Jessica Blackburn, Ph.D.
PRL3 as a Novel Therapeutic Target for Relapsed T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Children’s Hospital Boston
Glenn MacLean, Ph.D.
Genetic Dissection of Trisomy 21-TMD Using Human Pluripotent Stem Cells 

Children’s Hospital Boston
Samantha Morris, Ph.D.
Investigating the Role of Circadian Rhythm in the Progression of Acute Myeloid Leukemia