Greg Aune, M.D., Ph.D., a member of The University of Texas Health Science Center’s faculty in the Department of Pediatrics, has just been selected to receive a three-year grant from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation worth $330,000 for the advancement of his research on the long-term effects of chemotherapy on pediatric patients. Specifically, Dr. Aune said in a recent press release from the Health Science Center that he will be using the funding to further his work on studying the long-term cardiovascular effects of this lifesaving treatment.
Dr. Aune and his colleagues from the Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute are turning their attention to a by-product of a frequently prescribed chemotherapy drug that is known to be less toxic to the cardiovascular system in adult patients — a therapy that they believe can also be used in a pediatric setting.
He explains that the drug, called liposomal doxorubicin, has yet to be tested on and observed in pediatric patients. However, he and his group of fellow researchers are working on the assumption that the therapy will be less cardiotoxic in their laboratory model for children. If their hypothesis proves to be correct, the findings of their study may pave the way for the drug’s more extensive use in pediatric oncology.
St. Baldrick’s Foundation has awarded over $24.7 million worth of new grants to support research efforts on childhood cancer, which includes Dr. Aune’s award. The foundation’s chief executive officer, Kathleen Ruddy, gives much of the credit to their generous donors, volunteer workers, and collaborative partners for supporting their mission to fund promising research efforts on health. According to Ruddy, pharmaceutical companies still lack substantial research on pediatric cancer. This trend only highlights the need to fund the handful of studies that target pediatric patients battling cancer.
Just last March, St. Baldrick’s Foundation gave a one-year grant to the Cancer Center of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) worth $53,543.