AACR-St. Baldrick’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Research Grant

This grant program represents the first time that a research grant opportunity has been linked to an AACR scientific achievement award. The goal of the AACR-St. Baldrick’s Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement in Pediatric Cancer Research initiative is to spotlight significant scientific accomplishments, while simultaneously fostering the career advancement of early-stage pediatric cancer researchers. It is intended to stimulate an ongoing mentor-mentee relationship between the awardees and the grant recipients.

Once selected, the awardee is afforded the opportunity to nominate junior faculty level researchers at any academic institution in the world to be considered to receive a one-year, $75,000 AACR-St. Baldrick’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Research Grant. Candidates must have demonstrated promise for continued substantive contributions to pediatric cancer research. From the list of candidates provided by the awardee, a grant recipient is chosen by the award selection committee.

2023 grantee

Alanna Joyce Church, MD

Alanna Joyce Church, MD

Assistant Professor
Boston Children’s Hospital
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Research

Cutting edge techniques in molecular pathology are transforming the standards of cancer care. Dr. Church’s research and clinical practice focus on molecular profiling to support the care of children with cancer. She has demonstrated that sequencing technologies have a significant impact on making the right diagnosis and in selecting the correct targeted treatment for children with cancer.

Biography 

Dr. Church received her master‘s and medical degrees at Queen’s University, Canada, before completing her residency in anatomic pathology at the same institution. She then moved to Boston to complete her education in both molecular genetic pathology and pediatric pathology at Harvard Medical School. She stayed at Boston Children’s Hospital as the founding director and the Associate Director of the Laboratory for Molecular Pediatric Pathology (LaMPP). She is currently the Program Director for the Harvard Molecular Genetic Pathology Fellowship and the Chair of Training and Education for the Association for Molecular Pathology.

Acknowledgement of Support

“I am so honored and grateful for this award. This grant will support my mission to bring the power of molecular profiling from research labs directly to the clinical care of children battling cancer, giving them the best available treatment, which each child deserves.”

2021 Grantee

Robbie J. Majzner, MD

Robbie J. Majzner, MD

Assistant Professor 

Stanford University 

Stanford, California 

Research 

The overarching goal of the Majzner lab is to generate immunotherapies for pediatric cancer while studying fundamental mechanisms of tumor resistance through three focus areas: 1. CAR T-cell platform development; 2. focus on the immunobiology of GD2; and 3. preclinical development of novel approaches for pediatric immunotherapy. 

Biography 

Dr. Robbie Majzner attended Harvard Medical School, where he developed an interest in pediatric oncology. He completed his residency training in pediatrics at New York Presbyterian-Columbia and fellowship training in pediatric hematology-oncology at Johns Hopkins and the National Cancer Institute. During his fellowship at the NCI and a subsequent instructorship at Stanford, he became interested in developing new methods to harness the pediatric immune system to target childhood cancer which is now the broad focus of his laboratory group. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Hematology, Oncology, Stem Cell Transplantation & Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine.  

Acknowledgment of Support 

The AACR-St. Baldrick’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Research Grant will support efforts in my laboratory to develop new therapies for children with incurable cancers. This work will focus on engineering new platform technologies capable of unleashing the power of CAR T cells for children with solid tumors.