Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers join global Cancer Grand Challenges team taking on solid tumors in children

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Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's Scott Armstrong, MD, PhD, Benjamin Ebert, MD, PhD, Eric Fischer, PhD, Cigall Kadoch, PhD, and Kimberly Stegmaier, MD, are part of a global, interdisciplinary team of researchers, called Team PROTECT, that has been selected to receive a Cancer Grand Challenges award. The award, of up to $25 million over five years, will be used to tackle solid tumors in children.

Cancer Grand Challenges is a global funding initiative, co-founded by Cancer Research UK and the National Cancer Institute in the US, that supports a community of diverse, global teams to take on some of cancer's toughest challenges.

Cancer remains a leading cause of death due to disease among children globally, and outcomes for some childhood cancers have not improved in more than 30 years. Treatments for solid tumors in children still rely on decades-old chemotherapies, and often radiotherapy. Team PROTECT will take on this challenge along with team KOODAC. The teams will use protein degradation strategies to target previously undruggable drivers of children's cancers. A drug(s) that could emerge from these programs could revolutionize the field and transform the lives of those affected by that particular cancer type.

Team PROTECT unites clinicians, advocates, and scientists with expertise in pediatric oncology, medicinal chemistry, structural biology, tumor biology, preclinical drug testing, and more, across 10 institutions and five countries. The team is funded by Cancer Research UK, the National Cancer Institute, the Scientific Foundation of the Spanish Association Against Cancer, and KiKa (Children Cancer Free Foundation) through Cancer Grand Challenges.

"Together with our network of visionary partners and research leaders, Cancer Grand Challenges unites the world's brightest minds across boundaries and disciplines and aims to overcome cancer's toughest problems," said David Scott, PhD, Director of Cancer Grand Challenges. "With this investment, our largest to date, we continue to grow our global research community, and fund new teams that have the potential to surface discoveries that could positively impact cancer outcomes."

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