For more than 40 years, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has supported Dana-Farber’s important research into blood cancers, leading to breakthroughs that have made a difference in the lives of patients and their families. Building on this incredible momentum, LLS recently awarded three Dana-Farber physician-scientists grants totaling nearly $1,150,000, to advance the development of targeted therapies for blood cancers.
Margaret Shipp, MD, chief of the division of Hematologic Neoplasia and the director of the Lymphoma Research Center at Dana-Farber, and co-leader Scott Rodig, MD, PhD, received the Blood Cancer Discoveries Grant Award to fund their research into further understanding the tumor-immune microenvironment (TIME) of classic Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL). Shipp’s grant was co-funded by The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research and The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group. Her team is creating a roadmap of TIME-associated immune evasion mechanisms that they are confident will uncover druggable targets for cHL and many other types of blood cancers.
“At present, our understanding of how lymphomas evade immunological recognition and elimination is incomplete. We’ve identified classic Hodgkin lymphoma as a perfect model system to address this question,” said Shipp, who is also the Douglas S. Miller Chair in Lymphoma at Dana-Farber. “What’s more, the proposed TIME roadmap of cHL will provide additional insights and therapeutic strategies for many other hematolymphoid neoplasms and solid tumors.”
Kimberly Stegmaier, MD, co-director of the Pediatric Hematologic Malignancy Program at Dana-Farber, received funding for her research into new therapies for pediatric acute leukemias as part of LLS PedAL—a global precision medicine master clinical trial that will test multiple targeted therapies simultaneously around the world. As part of this endeavor, Stegmaier and her team aim to identify highly effective, novel targeted therapy combinations for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). These preclinical studies will inform future PedAL clinical trials.
“Tremendous progress has been made in increasing survival for pediatric ALL in the last few decades, but progress has been slower for AML and certain high-risk subgroups of ALL,” said Stegmaier, who is also the Ted Williams Chair at Dana-Farber. “This project aims to change that and propel a number of new treatment strategies to help children facing these diseases. I am so grateful to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s support of this critical research.”
Since 1949, LLS has invested over $1.3 billion in cutting-edge research for leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and other rare types of blood cancers. With more than $74 million awarded to Dana-Farber in total, the foundation has been an important partner to the Institute over the years, and their latest investment provides a valuable boost to the ambitious goals of The Dana-Farber Campaign.
“LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and we believe the collaboration with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute physicians and researchers will help accelerate the advancement of cures and better patient care for people with blood cancer,” said Lee Greenberger, PhD, LLS Chief Scientific Officer. “We are optimistic that the research LLS is funding through Dana-Farber and other institutions will more rapidly advance innovative blood cancer therapies and save more lives.”