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Promise and Progress - A Champion of Pediatric Cancer Research

Faces of Childhood Cancer

A Champion of Pediatric Cancer Research

Date: June 1, 2004

Shirley Howard’s Children’s Cancer Foundation (CCF) has donated more than $8 million for pediatric cancer research and facilities at Johns Hopkinis over the last 25 years. 

The CCF has a rich history at the Kimmel Cancer Center, funding a variety of programs and discoveries, including the pediatric bone marrow transplant facility and now renovations to the pediatric oncology inpatient unit and outpatient clinic.  Other major areas of support include:

Basic Research

CCF funds the research of pediatric oncology director Robert Arceci which focuses on altered genes associated with cancer development (see page 2.)

Pediatric Neurosurgery and Neuro-oncology

The pediatric neurosurgery operating room (OR) of world-renowned brain surgeon Ben Carson was completely renovated and updated through CCF support. CCF donated new, state-of-the-art surgical instruments including an ultrasonic aspirator that breaks up complex brain tumors, new brain imaging devices, a neurological navigational unit, a high-tech microscope, and an ultrasound device that allows surgeons to non invasively find and explore tumors and abnormal structures in the brain.

CCF also supports the clinical research of pediatric neuro-oncologist Ken Cohen. Cohen is studying varying strategies using traditional drugs, novel drug combinations, and promising new agents. 

Stem Cell Research

Curt Civin is an international leader in the biology of the hematopoietic stem cell. CCF is supporting his new research using human embryonic stem cells. Civin expects these studies to lead to better transplant therapies as well as a better understanding of how stem cells make mistakes and become leukemia or other cancers.

Leukemia Research

With the help of CCF, Alan Friedman has been able to study an AML (acute myelogenous leukemia) protein that appears to generate this form of childhood leukemia.  He is investigating several mutant forms of the AML gene to determine the mechanisms by which it causes childhood leukemia and to identify novel therapies to treat various childhood leukemias.

David Loeb has used CCF support to study the role of the WT1 gene in the develpment of AML.

CCF has also helped investigator Donald Small launch his laboratory research into a leukemia-related gene known as FLT3. Small was able to clone FLT3, and develop a specifically targeted therapy that kills leukemia cells but leaves normal cells virtually unaffected.

For more information on CCF, visit or call 410-486-4744.