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PRESS RELEASE: Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and The RUNX1 Research Program Announce New Recipients of Familial RUNX1 Grant Program

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Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and The RUNX1 Research Program Announce New Recipients of Familial RUNX1 Grant Program

Funding supports research of Familial RUNX1 disorders and the predisposition of acute myeloid leukemia.

The Babich Family Foundation, through their RUNX1 Research Program, partnered with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation in 2016 to create new funding opportunities to accelerate research of a genetic familial platelet disorder (FPD) with a predisposition to the development of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). ALSF and The Babich Family Foundation are excited to announce the latest recipients of the Familial RUNX1 Grants: Mortimer Poncz, MD of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Anupriya Agarwal, PhD of Oregon Health & Science University.

The grantees will receive $250,000 over the course of two years to research prevention of the transition from pre-leukemia to leukemia for patients with the familial RUNX1 disorder. Dr. Poncz, along with his co-investigators Deborah French, PhD and Paul Gadue, PhD, will study enhancing the level RUNX1 in patients with FPD/AML to decrease bleeding because of low platelets and decrease the risk of developing AML. Dr. Agarwal will study how RUNX1 mutations create a “pre-leukemic” environment, the presence of cytokines and how they contribute to disease progression. The knowledge gained in Dr. Agarwal’s study will help determine effective treatments to prevent FPD from transforming to AML.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation is committed to creating opportunities for new and innovative research into treatments and cures for childhood cancers. The RUNX1 Research Project is a research and advocacy venture committed to funding world-class, innovative and cross-disciplinary cancer research to find a cure for those affected by the RUNX1 familial platelet disorder with a predisposition to acute myeloid leukemia (FPD/AML). The Familial RUNX1 Grant program will accelerate research into inherited RUNX1 mutations or FPD/AML. Individuals with a mutation have a 50% likelihood during their life to develop AML. The current research of inherited RUNX1 mutations is very limited. Reported cases show people with inherited RUNX1 mutations can develop AML any time from age 2 to over 70.

“Through our partnership with The Babich Family Foundation, we’re excited to fund these promising research projects in an area that’s critical but underfunded,” said Liz Scott, co-executive director of ALSF. “We hope it will lead to better treatments for patients with RUNX1 who develop AML and ultimately all patients with AML, which is a deadly leukemia in children.”

“We are grateful to Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for their continued partnership with this endeavor,” said Timothy Babich, Director of The RUNX1 Research Program. “The grant program has energized the field, bringing new ideas to the table that have the potential to make a great difference in the lives of those of us who suffer with this disorder, as well as the larger blood cancer universe.”

For more information about RUNX1, visit www.RUNX1.com. For more information about ALSF’s various grant categories and success stories, visit: www.ALSFgrants.org.