This award is the second Cancer Moonshot grant awarded to researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
The National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health awarded one of its Cancer Moonshot grants to Timothy Cripe, MD, PhD, chief of the Division of Hematology, Oncology & Blood and Marrow Transplant and Elaine Mardis, PhD, co-executive director of the Steve and Cindy Rasmussen Institute for Genomic Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Nationwide Foundation Endowed Chair of Genomic Medicine at Nationwide Children’s and professor of pediatrics and investigator with the Pelotonia Institute for Immuno-Oncology at The Ohio State University. This is the second Cancer Moonshot grant awarded to researchers at Nationwide Children’s.
“We are extremely grateful and honored to receive this grant, as it enables us to continue advancing important work to one day find a cure for cancer,” says Dr. Cripe, who is also a Gordon Teter Endowed Chair in pediatric cancer at Nationwide Children’s, and a professor of pediatrics and an investigator in the Pelotonia Institute for Immuno-Oncology at Ohio State. “Our work is never finished until there is a cure.”
Dr. Cripe’s project aims to deepen the understanding of how an oncolytic (or tumor-targeting) virus interacts with a tumor’s “immune system” to develop treatments that make tumors more susceptible to these viruses.
“Dr. Cripe, Dr. Mardis and their talented team are pioneers in the field of cancer immunotherapeutics,” says John Barnard, MD, president of the Abigail Wexner Research Institute (AWRI) at Nationwide Children’s. “This grant will accelerate their momentum in developing more effective treatments for pediatric cancers.”
The Moonshot grant will also provide funding to two other Nationwide Children’s research projects led by Kevin Cassady, MD, clinical virologist and principal investigator in the Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases at AWRI, and Dean Lee, MD, PhD, director of the joint Cellular Therapy and Cancer Immunology Program at Nationwide Children’s and Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, DiMarco Family Endowed Chair in Cell Based Therapy at Nationwide Children’s and professor of pediatrics at Ohio State.
Dr. Cassidy is investigating modifying a next generation oncolytic herpes simplex virus (oHSV) to express known, tumor-selective cell surface proteins to convert an anti-viral immune response into an anti-tumor immune response. Dr. Lee’s project focuses on natural killer (NK) cells, known as the “executioner” cell of the immune system, and how they are attracted to tumors.
Over the past decade, the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplant has received 2 NIH Cancer Moonshot grants totaling $16.4 million, created first-in-pediatric resources like the Good Manufacturing Practice Facility, and established itself as a consistent top 10 program ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
- 2012: Established Host Defense Program Specifically Designed to Address the Needs of Immunocompromised Patients
- 2013: Launched MIBG Therapy – Innovative Treatment for Patients with High-Risk Neuroblastoma
- 2015: Established NEXT Consortium to Expand Expedited Advance Treatments for Hem/Onc/BMT Conditions
- 2016: Established Cellular Therapy and Cancer Immunology Program
- 2018: Certified Treatment Center for Novartis CAR-T Cell Therapy Kymriah™
- 2019: Childhood Cancer Research Team Awarded $10.2 Million Moonshot Grant
- 2020: Neuro-Oncology Team Brings CONNECT Consortium and Clinical Trials in High-Risk Pediatric Brain Tumors to Nationwide Children’s