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Children’s Tumor Foundation Investment in ‘Top Innovation of 2009’

By December 7, 2009December 4th, 2023Awards & Grants, Awareness

Induced pluripotent stem cell technology – or iPS for short – has been deemed the single greatest technology breakthrough of 2009 by The Scientist magazine*.  The Children’s Tumor Foundation is already exploiting this cutting-edge technology in an effort to develop a treatment approach for plexiform tumors through a Drug Discovery Initiative Award to Dr. Jonathan Chernoff (Fox Chase Cancer Center).

iPS technology involves taking a ‘normal’ cell such as a skin cell, and reprogramming it genetically into a more primitive state – into an iPS cell. These cells can then be ‘differentiated’ into the desired cell type. Dr. Chernoff is taking a mouse skin cell, reprogramming it to an iPS which is then transplanted into the bone marrow. The goal is for the implanted cells to develop into mast cells, enter the blood circulation and on reaching the plexiform tumor (whose growth is promoted by defective signaling from mast cells) to knock down the plexiform tumors growth.

The Foundation awarded Dr. Chernoff $30,000 for this project in mid-2009 which was deemed high risk but high payoff by members of the Foundation’s Research Advisory Board. But it has already begun to payoff: on the strength of his early findings, Dr. Chernoff has secured $150,000 grant from the Department of Defense NF program – great leveraging of the Foundation’s early support of this endeavor!