Skip to contents
In This Issue:
Whether it's raising funds to support research and spread awareness of leukemia and lymphoma, or working to discover new clinical approaches for treatment, BWHers are providing hope for patients diagnosed with these and other types of blood cancers.
Jon Aster, MD, PhD, was recently honored with one of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's most prestigious grants: the Marshall A. Lichtman Specialized Center of Research (SCOR) research initiative grant.
The innovative SCOR program funds teams of researchers representing different disciplines who are engaged in collaborative efforts to discover new approaches to treat patients with hematological malignancies. Teams receive $1.25 million a year for five years, for a total of $6.25 million per team.
A researcher and pathologist, Aster leads a diverse team that includes oncologists, molecular biologists and chemists. Aster and his team are working on new therapies for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and related blood cancers. As part of the grant project, he will oversee several projects, each studying a different kind of targeted therapy with new classes of drugs that work against proteins that are known to drive the growth of leukemia cells. Four major protein targets were selected based on promising preclinical results obtained using human leukemia cells and mouse models of human leukemia.
"By working as a team, our SCOR aims to move new treatments emanating from each of our projects into the clinic during the next five years, thereby providing new hope for patients with blood cancers that are now incurable," Aster said.
In addition to research, the funding that comes to the society through volunteers and organized events is invaluable. Jessica Rice, a BWH physical therapist, has a personal connection to the organization's cause and is devoted to volunteering and fundraising to raise awareness.
"In 2005, my cousin was diagnosed with leukemia, and a couple of years after that, a childhood friend's mother was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma," said Rice, who has raised more than $7,000 for the society as part of its organized Team in Training program and completed the Nike Women's Marathon this fall in support of the society. "Since then, I have made it a personal mission to raise awareness and help in any way I can."