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In the News: Team Science Awards, D3B’s Starring Role, Neuroblastoma Research, Master Clinicians, Distinguished Investigator Awards

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April 16, 2021
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In the News

shafere1 [at] chop.edu (By Emily Shafer)

In this week's news roundup, we highlight not one, but two CHOP researchers honored with Distinguished Investigator Awards. A cancer research "Dream Team" also won a Team Science Award. Find out whose neuroblastoma research is going to be funded for three more years, and which clinician was just elected to Penn's Academy of Master Clinicians. Stick around to learn who at CHOP teamed up with a well-known movie producer to fund more CHOP research!

CHOP Cancer Researchers Win 2021 AACR Team Science Award

A group of pediatric cancer researchers led by CHOP physician-scientist John M. Maris, MD, and co-led by Stanford University immunologist and pediatric oncologist Crystal L. Mackall, MD, won the 2021 Team Science Award from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

The award recognizes the St. Baldrick's Foundation-Stand Up 2 Cancer Pediatric Dream Team for its contributions to the pediatric cancer research community. The team, which includes 12 researchers in the CHOP Cancer Center, focuses on developing new, targeted therapies that harness the body's own immune system to fight aggressive and lethal childhood cancers.

"When we formed this Dream Team eight years ago, our idea was to bring cancer genetics researchers together with immunology researchers to solve some of the most difficult problems in pediatric cancer," said Dr. Maris, who is the Giulio D'Angio Chair in Neuroblastoma Research at CHOP and professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. "Our group has made great strides, discovering how childhood cancer evades the immune system and introducing new and effective treatments to meet our goal of improving lives of children with cancer."

Learn more about the award in the CHOP press release.

Chief of Neurosurgery Teams Up With M. Night Shyamalan to Fund CHOP Research

Jay Storm, MD, chief of Neurosurgery at CHOP, teamed up with producer M. Night Shyamalan to help fund research at CHOP's Center for Data Driven Discovery in Biomedicine (D3B). Dr. Storm co-founded the Center in 2016 to develop treatments for children with cancer and other chronic and terminal diseases.

Dr. Storm granted access to his house in Rittenhouse Square to Shyamalan for use in his TV show "Servant." The requirement was that the show donate the production fee Dr. Storm would have received — almost $100,000 per year — to D3B. For the show's three seasons so far, "Servant" has donated the agreed-upon fee and made an additional donation.

"When ["Servant"] came along, it was great timing," Dr. Storm said in an interview published in Philadelphia Magazine. "We had all of these amazing researchers within Philadelphia. We said let's partner, and let's make Philadelphia the place that's going to really make a difference and maybe even cure some tumors."

Read more about the partnership in the article.

EVAN Foundation Pledges Continued Support to Neuroblastoma Research Scholars Program

The Evan's Victory Against Neuroblastoma Foundation (The EVAN Foundation) pledged to continue supporting the Evan Lindberg Neuroblastoma Research Scholars Program at CHOP. The Scholars Program, founded in 2015, supports early-career scientists at CHOP who are dedicated to finding a cure for neuroblastoma.

The three-year pledge will support Esther R. Berko, MD, PhD, who trained as a pediatric oncology fellow at CHOP, and is now an instructor at Schneider Children's Hospital in Tel Aviv, Israel. Dr. Berko remains a scientist in the lab of Yael Mossé, MD, associate professor of Pediatrics at CHOP, and steward of the Scholars Program.

"Dr. Berko is undoubtedly well on her way to becoming an independent physician scientist who will have a significant impact in the cancer research field and in the lives of children with neuroblastoma," Dr. Mossé said. "Having Dr. Berko based in Tel Aviv creates a unique collaborative arrangement among CHOP, the EVAN Foundation, and Schneider Children's Hospital."

Find out more about the EVAN Foundation and the Scholars Program in the CHOP press release.

Michael Nance, MD, Elected to Penn Academy of Master Clinicians

Michael L. Nance, MD, the Josephine J. and John M. Templeton Jr. Endowed Chair in Pediatric Trauma, and director of the Pediatric Trauma Program at CHOP, was elected to the Academy of Master Clinicians at Penn Medicine. The Academy of Master Clinicians, launched in 2013, is considered the highest honor bestowed on a Penn physician.

"Recognition by your peers for a job well done is always rewarding," Dr. Nance said. "That the job they are recognizing is how you care for patients, children in particular, makes it all the more special."

In addition to his clinical duties, Dr. Nance, who is a professor of Surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, conducts extensive research in the field of pediatric trauma, including firearms injuries in children. He is a Fellow of CHOP's Center for Violence Prevention.

N. Scott Adzick, MD, Receives Clinical and Translational Science Distinguished Investigator Award

To recognize his role in bringing fetal surgery to routine practice, the Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS) awarded N. Scott Adzick, MD, surgeon-in-chief at CHOP, the 2021 Distinguished Investigator Award for Translation from Proof-of-Concept to Widespread Clinical Practice.

Dr. Adzick has long been recognized as a leader in the field of fetal medicine. During his postdoctoral appointment at the University of California, San Francisco, he and his research colleagues conducted some of the first fetal surgery research and developed fetal surgical techniques. Those studies laid the groundwork for the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at CHOP, which Adzick founded in 1995. He continues to research ways to improve methods and outcomes of fetal surgery.

"I am honored to receive this award from ACTS, which feels like a culmination of work that began several decades ago and now has helped so many families," Dr. Adzick said. "It's immensely gratifying to see an idea that at one time seemed purely theoretical become widespread practice, offering an improved future to so many children."

Learn more about Dr. Adzick's work and the award in the CHOP press release.

Flaura Winston, MD, PhD, Receives Clinical and Translational Science Distinguished Investigator Award

To recognize her role in using research findings to inform and implement public policies to promote better health, the Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS) awarded Flaura K. Winston, MD, PhD, founder and scientific director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at CHOP, the 2021 ACTS Distinguished Investigator Award for Translations from Clinical Use into Public Benefit and Policy.

Dr. Winston's "research-to-action-to-impact" approach to academic entrepreneurship has led to new patents, products, programs, policies and laws, and established the foundation for the CHOP spinout Diagnostic Driving, Inc.

"To have an organization like this, which represents the best of the best of translational research in medicine, recognize a pediatrician doing injury work as being their distinguished investigator, it's not just important for me, but it's important for the field," Dr. Winston said.

Learn more about Dr. Winston's work and award in a Cornerstone Q&A and the CHOP press release.

ICYMI

Catch up on our headlines from our April 2 In the News:

  • FDA Approves Non-surgical Heart Valve Replacement Device
  • Nutritional Supplement Prevents Strokes in Patients With Rare Genetic Disorder
  • Using Sensors, Researchers Identify Head Impact Rates in Four High School Varsity Sports
  • Researchers Map Clinical Landscape of Major Gene Linked to Epilepsy and Autism
  • CHOP Researchers Receive Grants to Accelerate Childhood Cancer Research

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