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.

2020 Grantee

Jarno Drost, PhD

Jarno Drost, PhD

Principal Investigator 
Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology 
Utrecht, Netherlands 

Kidney tumors are among the most common solid tumors in children, comprising distinct subtypes that differ in many aspects. Dr. Drost’s research group at the Princess Máxima Center studies the molecular mechanisms underlying the development of childhood kidney and rhabdoid tumors with the aim to identify novel therapies. Dr. Drost pioneered the use of organoid technology in childhood cancer and succeeded in growing organoids from a spectrum of pediatric tumors. His group uses these organoid models as a drug screening platform to find drugs that specifically target tumor cells. Furthermore, he combines organoid and mouse models with (single-cell) next generation sequencing, gene editing and lineage tracing technologies to study the molecular mechanisms underpinning tumorigenesis.

Dr. Drost obtained his PhD at the Netherlands Cancer Institute. He then joined the Hubrecht Institute as a post-doctoral fellow, where he got acquainted with organoid technology. He has started his research group at the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology and Oncode Institute, where he studies the molecular alterations underpinning childhood solid tumors, with a primary focus on renal and rhabdoid tumors.

Acknowledgment of Support
The AACR-St. Baldrick’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Research Grant offers the support to further develop ongoing, as well as initiate new, research lines. It also provides international exposure for my research, allowing me to initiate new international collaborations in the field of childhood cancer, as I believe that a collaborative approach is vital for a successful research career.