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Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation Announces 2019 Single-cell Pediatric Cancer Atlas Grant Recipients

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Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), a nonprofit dedicated to finding cures for all children with cancer, announces $2 million in grant funding to create the first publicly available Single-cell Pediatric Cancer Atlas (ScPCA). The awarding of ten $200,000 grants will fund the single-cell profiling of pediatric cancer samples with the goal of producing an atlas of gene expression profiles for different types of pediatric cancers from different organ sites. The atlas will feature a broad selection of tumor types: neuroblastoma; Wilms tumor; leukemias, such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia; central nervous system tumors such as diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), medulloblastoma, and ependymoma; and sarcomas such as Ewing sarcoma, osteosarcoma, and rhabdomyosarcoma, amongst others.

“This award will allow us to provide the international biomedical research community with the first glimpse at the cellular heterogeneity of more than 20 different pediatric solid tumors. This is the first step in developing more effective treatments for childhood solid tumors that prevent relapse,” said Michael Dyer, PhD, Chair of the Developmental Neurobiology Department at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Single-cell profiling can provide insights into the heterogeneity of cells in a tumor and the surrounding tumor microenvironment, as well as variability in the states of cancer cells, all of which can influence the cancer’s response to treatments. Grant recipients are required to share their data with the ALSF Childhood Cancer Data Lab (CCDL) who will uniformly process the data and release it to the public as an open resource for discovery.

The Director of ALSF’s CCDL Casey Greene, PhD, said, “The ScPCA’s innovative design and requirements for rapid data release will provide a single-cell resolution portrait of cancers that can be analyzed in concert with datasets generated over the past two decades to reveal how certain cell types influence a cancer’s progression and response to treatments.”

The 10 grant recipients are as follows:

Brock Christensen, PhD of the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College
Single-cell Gene Expression and Cytosine Modification Profiling in Pediatric Central Nervous System Tumors

Natalie Collins, MD/PhD of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Single-cell Atlas of Pediatric Osteosarcoma

Michael Dyer, PhD and Xiang Chen, PhD of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Profiling the Transcriptional Heterogeneity of Diverse Pediatric Solid Tumors

Charles Gawad, MD/PhD of Stanford University
Single-cell Profiling of Acute Myeloid Leukemia for High-Resolution Chemo-immunotherapy Target Discovery

Adam Green, MD and Jean Mulcahy Levy, MD of the University of Colorado
Single-cell RNA Sequencing of Pediatric High-and Low-Grade Gliomas

Charles Mullighan, MD and Jeffrey Klco, MD/PhD of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Single-cell Profiling of Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Andrew Murphy, MD and Xiang Chen, PhD of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Single Nuclear RNA-seq and Spatial Transcriptomic Analysis of Anaplastic and Favorable Histology Wilms Tumor

Trevor Pugh, PhD of the University Health Network of Canada, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
Dissecting Pediatric Brain Tumour Progression Using Single-nuclei Sequencing

Alice Soragni, PhD of the University of California Los Angeles
Single-cell Profiling of Pediatric Bone Sarcomas

David Teachey, MD and Kai Tan, PhD of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Single-cell Profiling of Early T cell Precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

 Research funded by ALSF has been featured in The New England Journal of Medicine, Blood, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Molecular Therapy, AACR Journals, Oncogene, Nature and more. In addition to the Single-cell Pediatric Cancer Atlas Grants, ALSF funds several other grant categories to researchers on the front lines of the childhood cancer fight. For more information, visit: ALSFgrants.org.