Team science award recognizes eight pediatric cancer researchers

by Erin Digitale on April 29, 2021 5:13 PM

Eight Stanford Medicine scientists are among a group of pediatric cancer researchers honored with the American Association for Cancer Research’s 2021 Team Science Award.

Crystal Mackall

The annual award recognizes the scientific team considered most skilled in all facets of cancer research. It will be presented this spring during the association’s annual meeting.

The 2021 award honors a group known as the St. Baldrick’s Foundation-Stand Up 2 Cancer Pediatric Cancer Dream Team, made up of 74 scientists from nine academic institutions. The team conducts basic, translational and clinical research at the intersection of immunotherapy and cancer genomics for many types of childhood malignancies.

“We are very proud of our team’s achievements over the past eight years,” said CRYSTAL MACKALL, professor of pediatrics and medicine. The team has conducted research to understand how cancer immunotherapies work, how to reduce the side effects of the treatments, and how to make cancer immunotherapy useful for patients with solid tumors, she said.

The team was founded in 2013 by Mackall, who holds the family professorship of Ernest and Amelia Gallo, and John Maris, pediatric oncologist at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. Mackall was head of the pediatric oncology department at the National Cancer Institute at the time. She invited several Stanford scientists to join the team when she was accepted to the university in 2016.

The association’s announcement of the award states that the team has published 183 manuscripts, filed 21 patent applications, established a new clinical trial network and generated more than $ 90 million in research funding. The group also treated more than 950 children in early phase clinical trials, with many experiencing lasting and complete responses.

Other Stanford Medicine recipients of this year’s award are JENNIFER COCHRAN, professor of bio-engineering and the Shriram chair of the Bioengineering Department; KARA DAVIS, assistant professor of paediatrics; SABINE HEITZENEDER, instructor of cancer immunology and immunotherapy; ROBBIE MAJZNER, assistant professor of paediatrics; MICHELLE MONJE, associate professor of neurology; SNEHA RAMAKRISHNA, teacher of pediatric hematology and oncology; and ELENA SOTILLO-PIÑEIRO, senior researcher.

Mackall will also receive two major awards as an individual scientist this spring. At the association’s annual meeting, she is honored with the American Association for Cancer Research – St. Baldrick’s Foundation Award for outstanding achievement in pediatric cancer research. Mackall receives the 2021 Pediatric Oncology Award and Lecture from the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Read more on the Stanford Medicine website.

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