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Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation Announces 2020 Epidemiology Grant Awardee

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Philadelphia, PA (March 2, 2021) – Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), a nonprofit dedicated to finding cures and better treatments for children with cancer, awarded a 2020 ALSF Epidemiology Grant to Jenny N. Poynter, MPH, PhD. Dr. Poynter is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota, and the grant will provide up to $200,000 over the course of two years for her study examining the genetic susceptibility to hearing loss due to platinum-based chemotherapy for germ cell tumors. 

"Long term hearing loss is one of the many significant challenges that some childhood cancer survivors face," said Liz Scott, Co-Executive Director of ALSF. "Research to better understand which children may suffer hearing loss will allow interventions to be designed to have the best possible outcome for survivors. We are proud to support the important work of Dr. Poynter."

The ALSF Epidemiology Grant is designed to support research studies in human populations using epidemiological approaches in order to significantly contribute to the understanding of childhood cancers, with a focus on the epidemiology of childhood cancer, early detection of childhood cancer, or the prevention of childhood cancer.

Dr. Poynter’s project, titled “Genetic Susceptibility to Ototoxicity in Pediatric Germ Cell Tumor Survivors”, will explore how treatment for germ cell tumors affects survivors’ long-term health with regard to hearing loss (ototoxicity) and will investigate if certain children are more susceptible to hearing loss than others due to genetic variations. Hearing loss is the most frequent late effect in the years immediately after treatment, typically affecting both ears and is irreversible.  

Dr. Poynter states, “In our project, we will try to understand if genetic differences make some children more likely to have hearing loss after treatment with chemotherapy. This work is important because hearing loss can have a negative impact on how well children do at school and can also impact their ability to socialize with their peers in noisy places. If we can identify children at higher risk for hearing loss after treatment, it is possible that interventions could help with school performance. It also would provide a strong reason to look for other treatments that may not lead to hearing loss while still providing good treatment outcomes.”

For more information about Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and its mission to find cures and better treatments for pediatric cancer, visit http://www.AlexsLemonade.org/. To learn more about the ALSF grant program, visit www.ALSFgrants.org.