Multi-institutional team led by Dr. David Kram of UNC School of Medicine, awarded $1.18 million funding award for Pediatric Brain Cancer Research

TAMPA, Florida, April 12, 2024: A team of National Pediatric Cancer Foundation® (NPCF™) investigators from UNC Chapel Hill, University of Florida and Children’s National Medical Center have united to investigate a novel and innovative immunotherapy against relapsed Medulloblastoma with a $1.18 million grant.

The project addresses medulloblastoma, the most common type of pediatric brain cancer, and when it recurs, it is nearly universally fatal. The project attempts to circumvent the key mechanisms of resistance that these tumors exhibit against cellular therapies. The title of the project is: “Natural Killer T-Cells to Fight Incurable Pediatric Brain Cancer.”

The collaborative team is comprised of: Barbara Savoldo, MD Phd and David Kram, MD MCR from UNC Chapel Hill, Elias Sayour, MD Phd from University of Florida and Eugene Hwang, MD and Conrad Cruz, MD Phd from Children’s National Medical Center.

The goals of this project are:

• To investigate the efficacy of the B7H3-CAR NKT cell therapeutic approach in the laboratory, alone and combined with the B7H3-CAR T cell approach for medulloblastoma.
• To measure the ability of the B7H3-CAR NKT cell to reprogram the highly immunosuppressive microenvironment of medulloblastoma into an environment that welcomes entrance and persistence of cellular therapies.
• To generate sufficient B7H3-CAR NKT preclinical data to fully evaluate the translational potential of this approach.

 “This multi-institutional NPCF team, comprised of national leaders spanning the entire bench to bedside spectrum, is well positioned to translate this preclinical work to benefit children in a short time”, said Dr. Kram.

About National Pediatric Cancer Foundation

The National Pediatric Cancer Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding research to eliminate childhood cancer through the Sunshine Project, the Foundation’s collaborative research initiative. By partnering with doctors and researchers from the country’s top institutions, the Sunshine Project is fast-tracking the development of new drugs and therapies that will ultimately lead to the cure of childhood cancers. The NPCF has received a perfect 100% score for financial health and transparency and is recognized as the top-rated cancer charity in the U.S. by Charity Navigator. For more information, visit or connect via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Individuals can also directly donate to the cause through the website.

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