Hyundai Awards Columbia Team $2.5M Grant to Advance Pediatric Cancer Research

A team of researchers at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) has been awarded a five-year $2.5 million grant from Hyundai Hope on Wheels (HHOW) to fund innovative pediatric cancer research. 

The team at Columbia is being led by principal investigator (PI), Julia Glade Bender, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at CUIMC, with co-PIs Andrea Califano, Dr, chair of Columbia’s Department of Systems Biology and Darrell J. Yamashiro, MD, PhD, director of pediatric hematology, oncology and stem cell transplantation. The three investigators also are members of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC), and will collaborate with researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering, University of San Francisco Children’s and Dana-Farber Cancer Center. 

At Columbia, the team will target osteosarcoma, the most commonly diagnosed bone tumor in children and adolescents. No new treatment approaches have successfully been introduced for osteosarcoma in nearly 40 years, and patients with the disease have not benefited from recent breakthroughs like immunotherapy or DNA sequencing and require a shift in the understanding and approach to therapy.
Dr. Glade Bender and team will leverage novel cancer systems biology approaches, developed by Dr. Califano and the Califano lab at CUIMC, that model the cellular logic of cancer cells, using supercomputers to identify optimal treatment options for each patient. Their project will incorporate the use of Dr. Califano’s OncoTreat analytical platform, which identifies all the top master regulators of a tumor and uses actual drug perturbations to identify the individual drugs and/or drug combination that can revert their activity at once. Read the full article on Department of Systems Biology