We provide funding so the brightest minds in pediatric cancer research can find the next big breakthrough.
What We Fund
To call pediatric cancer research “underfunded” is putting it lightly. Among the 12 different types of childhood cancers – yes, there are 12, with dozens of subtypes – the rarest of cancers go for decades without any progress.
Although we’ve made great strides in treating some childhood cancers in the past 50 years, current treatment protocols cause long-term, chronic health problems for survivors like organ damage, fertility issues, and even secondary cancers.
We seek solutions for the underdogs – the rare childhood cancers – so kids living with cancer don’t just survive, but thrive.
Since 2010, we have awarded $1,150,000 in Childhood Cancer Research Grants to sixteen institutions worldwide. Our researchers are searching for more effective treatment options, and for a better understanding of how childhood cancers behave.
Meet Our 2015 Pablove Childhood Cancer Researchers
Andras Heczey, M.D.
Texas Children’s Hospital/Baylor College of Medicine
Who is Dr. Heczey?
Dr. Heczey has been a Pablove Childhood Cancer Grant recipient from 2014-2016. He received his M.D. at Semmelweiss University. To pursue his dream of taking care of children with cancer, he moved from Budapest, Hungary to the U.S. in 2006 and completed his pediatric residency at CHLA in 2009. Now at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center, his research focuses on developing novel treatments for children with solid tumors by redirecting the immune system to attack cancer cells.
What is Dr. Heczey currently researching?
Glypcian-3 specfic T-cells for the Adoptive Immunotherapy of Pediatric Liver Cancers
My research focuses on cancer than can grow in children’s livers. Our bodies have special cells called T cells that can fight cancer cells. My work focuses on changing T cells in a laboratory to go after cancer cells of the liver, kill these cancer cells and ultimately cure patients with liver cancer. With the help of The Pablove Foundation, we developed 4 small molecules that when found on the surface of T cells can direct the T cells to attack liver cancer cells. After testing mice in the laboratory who had human liver cancer cells growing inside their bodies, we were really happy to see that our treatment completely eliminated the liver cancer cells from growing and the mice were cured of the disease. Now, we are focusing on picking the best of the 4 small molecules to hopefully use our treatment in the near future for children with liver cancer. – Dr. Heczey
View the illustration of Dr. Heczey’s research by Rachel Ignotofsky
Kira Bona, M.D., M.P.H.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Who is Dr. Bona?
Dr. Bona is an instructor in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Bona received her MD from Yale University School of Medicine, and completed her residency in Pediatrics at Boston’s Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center. Dr. Bona’s research is focused on understanding the contribution of poverty to pediatric outcomes. The guiding idea underlying her research is that family poverty, specifically material hardship such as food, housing, and energy insecurity – is prevalent in the childhood cancer population and has an effect on child health outcomes.
What is Dr. Bona currently researching?
Development of a Material Hardship Intervention
While childhood cancer does not discriminate and affects kids from all walks of life, my research focuses on understanding how poverty affects childhood cancer outcomes. Recent studies have shown that when a child is diagnosed with cancer in the United States, 1 in 5 parents tell us they have recently struggled to put enough food on the table, keep the heat or electricity on, or keep a roof over their heads. These struggles to meet basic needs increase insecurity, and poverty affects the types of cancer relapses children experience. These differences in childhood cancer are an important issue to fix as we work to improve outcomes for kids in the United States. My research focuses on better understanding the relationship between poverty and child cancer outcomes, and creating ways to stop or reduce the effects of poverty (food, housing, or energy insecurity) during cancer treatment. My goal is to ensure that every child diagnosed with cancer has an equal chance of being cured. – Dr. Bona
View the illustration of Dr. Bona’s research by Rachel Ignotofsky
Prof. Dr. Franz Blaes
Who is Dr. Blaes?
Dr. Blaes investigates a rare condition called opsoclonus-myoclonus-syndrome (OMS) and neuroblastoma-immune system interactions from his laboratory in Germany. His interest in the disease started during a post-doc in the Neuroscience group, Institute of Molecular Medicine in Oxford under the supervision of Angela Vincent and Bethan Lang (another Pablove researcher!). In 2000, he established an OMS research group at Justus-Liebig-University and was also a co-founder of the German OMS parents group. Today, Dr. Blaes is head of the neurological department at the Gummersbach academic teaching hospital and still runs his research group.
What is Prof. Dr. Franz Blaes currently researching?
Modification of Onconeuronal Antigens in the Neuroblastoma of Paraneoplastic OMS by Free RNA
Opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome, also known as dancing eye syndrome, is a severe disease of the brain. Children with OMS may have uncontrollable eye movement, muscle jerks, and coordination problems. Half of all children with OMS also have neuroblastoma, a tumor that is one of the most frequent childhood cancers. Some research suggests that when the immune system attacks the neuroblastoma tumor, it mistakenly triggers OMS in children. In our research project with Pablove, we are interested in finding out how the immune attack starts in the neuroblastoma tumor. We are investigating how RNA, a kind of genetic material, might be responsible for the immune response against neuroblastoma and against the brain of OMS children. – Dr. Blaes
Jessica Panzer, M.D., Ph.D., and Miriam Rosenberg, Ph.D.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia/Weizmann Institute of Science
Who are Drs. Panzer and Rosenberg?
Dr. Jessica Panzer
Dr. Panzer is a clinical instructor at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), currently developing a career as a physician-scientist studying basic science and translational approaches to understanding neuroimmune diseases that impact synaptic function and result in movement disorders. Her interest in this area began during her PhD studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where she also completed her MD degree. During her pediatric neurology residency at CHOP, she became interested in the treatment and pathophysiology of immune-mediated movement disorders and synaptic encephalitis. She hopes to translate improved understanding of these potentially devastating disorders into the development of novel therapies and treatment approaches.
Dr. Miriam Rosenberg
Dr. Rosenberg had her first foray into cancer research just after graduating from high school, as a summer student at the National Cancer Institute at NIH. Inspired by her experiences that summer, a career in biology was born. She attended the University of Maryland, College Park, and majored in cell and molecular biology and genetics (CMBG) with an emphasis on developmental neuroscience. She received her PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology in 2005 from the University of Washington, Seattle. As a postdoctoral fellow at New York University, Dr. Rosenberg explored the evolution of developmental gene networks using insect models. Dr.Rosenberg is currently a Marie Curie Fellow at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel and is motivated by close personal experience with OMS and NB.
What are Drs. Panzer and Rosenberg currently researching?
Autoantigen Discovery in OMS – An Innovative Multidisciplinary Approach
Our project deals with one of the most common childhood cancers, called Neuroblastoma (NB). Some kids with well controlled NB have an additional twist: their immune systems do a great job managing the tumor but get confused and start attacking their own brains, too. This brain attack causes problems with walking, talking, coordination, sleeping, and many other things. They have a condition called Opsoclonus myoclonus syndrome (OMS), an “autoimmune” disease, where the body’s immune system attacks a person’s own healthy tissue.
Our experiments focus both on finding the trigger molecule on the tumor (“antigen”) and on understanding the immune system’s response to that trigger. We want to find out what an effective immune response looks like, and help us figure out how we could help the kids with aggressive NB use their own immune systems more effectively to beat it. – Drs. Panzer and Rosenberg
Jessica Heath, M.D.
University of Vermont
Who is Dr. Heath?
Dr. Heath attended medical school at SUNY Stony Brook, and completed a residency and chief residency in Pediatrics at Albany Medical Center in Albany, NY. Dr. Heath then completed her fellowship in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at Duke University. She currently holds a faculty position at the University of Vermont (UVM) in the Departments of Pediatrics and Biochemistry. In addition to pediatric cancer research, Dr. Heath is passionate about taking care of children, adolescents, and young adults with cancer. She enjoys being in the clinic, and has a special interest in the care of adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer. In conjunction with this passion, she enjoys getting involved in her local community and participating in fundraising, and is a strong advocate for pediatric cancer patients and their families.
What is Dr. Heath currently researching?
The Role of CRM1 to Pediatric Leukemogenesis
Leukemia, a blood cancer, is the most common childhood cancer affecting kids today. While some types of leukemia respond very well to treatment, others, such as AML, still have unacceptably low cure rates of 40-50%. My research focuses on better understanding the way leukemia cells become abnormal so that we can develop new treatments. Childhood leukemias are often characterized by genetic abnormalities, and my investigation zeros in on proteins called CALM-AF10 that tend to respond poorly to treatment. Finding out about how these proteins interact with other proteins will lay the groundwork for testing new treatments in children with aggressive leukemias. – Dr. Heath
Apply for a Grant
The Pablove Foundation is still accepting Letters of Intent (LOI) relating to Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome.
Interested applicants should submit their Letters of Intent (LOI) through ProposalCENTRAL. To begin the LOI process, applicants will need to click the “Login” link at the top of the page and select the appropriate program.
The due date for the Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome LOI is January 15, 2016 at 5:00 pm Eastern Time.
What We Fund
The Pablove Foundation invites pediatric cancer researchers to apply for The Foundation’s seed grant program, which provides an award of $50,000 to conduct innovative, cutting edge investigations, with preferences going toward less common childhood cancers.
In addition, projects that focus on Opsoclonus-Myoclonus Syndrome (OMS) will be considered.
The Pablove Foundation is interested in principal investigators who will join us in taking risks, pushing for new solutions, and harnessing the transformative power of science in their research in the following broad areas:
- Mechanisms of Disease
- Preclinical Models
- Biomarkers and Surrogate Markers
- Prognostic Factors
- Innovative Clinical Therapeutic Trials
- Minimal Residual Disease Detection
- Supportive Care and Prevention
- Amelioration of Long-Term Effects of Therapy
By seeking answers and adding to the body of knowledge in pediatric cancer research, The Pablove Foundation will make an impact on the lives of children who are affected by childhood cancer.
Who is Eligible to Apply?
Senior postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty who hold M.D.s or Ph.D.s. In addition, established scientists who are re-directing their research are also eligible to apply for seed funding. Non-US Citizens and international institutions are eligible to apply.
What Can the Funds Be Used For?
$50,000 may be used for direct costs that cover investigators’ salaries, supplies, technical help and travel. In lieu of indirect costs, a maximum of 5% of the grant amount will be provided to sponsoring institutions upon submission of the progress report. The funds cover one year of funding. Grantees who wish to continue gathering preliminary data to prepare for support past the seed stage may apply for an additional year of funding.
The Review Process
The first stage of providing a fair and expert review for grant applications submitted to The Pablove Foundation consists of scientific peer review by a group of highly esteemed scientists who make up our Scientific Advisory Committee.
Applicants must first submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) through the proposalCENTRAL system.(NOTE: You must click “login” to begin the proposal process.) All LOIs are vetted through a competitive peer review process. Based on scores, a limited number of applicants whose LOIs are deemed most meritorious will be invited to submit Full Research Proposals to be considered for the available grants. The peer review panel uses standard guidelines for scoring applicants with an emphasis on innovation, scientific rigor, and relevance to the mission of The Pablove Foundation.
While review critiques will be returned to the proposal PI, final scores will not be provided.
Letters of Intent (LOI)
Investigators who wish to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) describing a project that fits within The Pablove Foundation Childhood Research Grants project priority areas must complete the proposalCENTRAL LOI instructions and include the following:
A. Applicant Profile, including:
1) Contact Information
2) Institutional Information
3) Educational Background
4) Research Interests
5) Publication History
6) Current and Pending Support
B. Project Summary, including:
1) Lay Summary
2) Scientific Summary including:
a) Specific Aims
b) Rationale and Approach
c) Innovation, Potential and future Patient Benefit
C. Budget Summary for one year
D. Relevant references to support the PI’s hypothesis must be uploaded as a PDF and limited to 1 page
E. NIH Biosketch, uploaded as a PDF
To begin the LOI Process, please create an account or login here. (NOTE: You must click “login” to begin the proposal process.) Once you create an account, you can save and come back to your application at any time. Applications for our 2016 Grant Cycle have officially closed. Letter of Intent (LOI) submissions for our 2017 Grant Cycle will open in October 2016.
Need Help? Get help quickly from proposalCENTRAL Customer Support by e-mail or by phone!
Normal Business Hours: 8:30am – 5:00pm Eastern Time
For questions about the Pablove Grant process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls regarding pending applications, please.
October 15, 2015 – LOI Process Open
November 30, 2015 – Deadline for LOIs (5:00 p.m. Eastern Time)
January 15, 2016 – LOI Applicants Notified of Status
January 15, 2016 – Full Application Process Open to Invited PIs
March 1, 2016 – Full Application Deadline
May 31, 2016 – Grantee Award Notification
June 2016 – Pablove Foundation Award Announcement
July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 – Award Dates