Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation Advances Progress in the Fight against Childhood Cancer

DETROIT–(BUSINESS WIRE)–15,780 children are diagnosed with cancer annually in the U.S. and it’s
the leading cause of medical deaths among youth here. September is
Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, designated by Congress at the urging
of parents whose children had cancer to increase awareness and raise
funds for research and family support.

Locally, Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation is a leader in
fostering medical research for pediatric cancer. CHMF funds vital
early-stage pre-clinical research—the laboratory studies essential
before treatments are tested on patients. Philanthropy is increasingly
important because federally-supported medical research has been
declining. Pediatric research only receives a fraction of the allocation
devoted to adult cancers.

CHMF funded early research leading to identification of a key genetic
mutation that can trigger acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Madhvi
Rajpurkar, MD, division chief of hematology at Children’s Hospital of
Michigan and professor of pediatrics at Wayne State University School of
Medicine and Michael Callaghan, MD, assistant professor, with a team of
international scientists recently published results of their nearly-10
year investigation.

“By investigating genetics of cancer, we’ll be able to improve
diagnosis, identify children at risk and develop new treatments. Our
main limitation is financial because federal funding has dwindled,
becoming more competitive,” said Jeffrey Taub, MD, chief of the division
of oncology at CHM and professor of pediatrics at Wayne.

Dr. Taub is studying the impact of pesticides on a pre-leukemic gene as
a possible factor in childhood leukemia, using zebra fish for laboratory
studies through support CHMF and the nonprofit Kids Without Cancer.

A new treatment for neuroblastoma is being tested on young patients at
CHM and Sloan Kettering in New York. Maxim Yankelevich, MD, assistant
professor at Wayne and a CHM oncologist, and Lawrence G. Lum, MD, DSc,
scientific director, immunotherapy and bone marrow transplant with
Karmanos Cancer Institute and professor of oncology, recently received a
National Cancer Institute grant for Phase I and II clinical trials of
this new treatment to remove, strengthen and multiplies the patient’s
antibodies, then manipulates them to fight neuroblastoma cancer cells.
Contributions from the Matthew Bittker Foundation and CHMF helped fund
these studies.

Recently the Hyundai Hope on Wheels program (,
awarded CHMF $250,000 to support Dr. Taub’s research. He’ll lead a study
of a potential new combination of chemotherapy drugs for acute myeloid
leukemia, using leukemic cell lines. This blood cancer is difficult to
treat and often recurs after chemotherapy.

“We’re fortunate to have dedicated, innovative medical researchers and a
community that supports them.” said Tony Werner, CHMF president and
chief executive officer.


Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation
Leslie Fleming, Director
of Communications and Annual Giving