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PRESS RELEASE: Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation Announces 2017 Epidemiology Grant Recipients

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Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation Announces 2017 Epidemiology Grant Recipients 

The Epidemiology Grant provides critical funding to researchers studying epidemiological characteristics of childhood cancers.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), a nonprofit dedicated to finding cures for all children with cancer, awarded two 2017 Epidemiology Grants to Julia Heck, PhD of University of California Los Angeles and Jenny Poynter, MPH of University of Minnesota. The Epidemiology Grant, worth $200,000 over the course of two years, provides critical funding to shed light on epidemiological characteristics of childhood cancer that are not yet understood.

Julia Heck will examine common maternal health conditions and prescription drug use during pregnancy and its relation to later childhood cancer development. Dr. Heck hopes the results will indicate if more active monitoring and screening is needed to reduce the potentially increased risk for the unborn child. She hopes to help guide recommendations on medication use among parents trying to conceive or among women who are pregnant.

Jenny Poynter’s study is the largest genetic epidemiology study ever of pediatric germ cell tumors (GCT). The study will evaluate the genetic risk for GCT. She hopes the study will provide important insights on how early-life events may lead to long-term alterations in gene function and increase the risk of cancer.

The Epidemiology Grant allows investigators to pursue research studies in specific human populations, using epidemiological approaches, in order to significantly contribute to the understanding of childhood cancers. Studies may focus on risk factors, early detection, prevention or treatment outcomes of pediatric cancers. This grant is a part of the Foundation’s Accelerator Program, which works to advance the pace of innovative research. These projects have been deemed highly important, but have not received National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. ALSF takes calculated risks to fund these proposals, resulting in high-impact findings.

Research funded by ALSF has been featured in The New England Journal of Medicine, Blood, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Molecular Therapy, AACR Journal, Oncogene, Nature and more. In addition to the Epidemiology Grant, ALSF funds several other grant categories. For more information, visit www.ALSFgrants.org