Grant Rowe, MD PhD

Children’s Hospital Boston

Targeting leukemia stem cells in infant B-lymphoblastic leukemia

This grant is funded by

A physician scientist at Children’s Hospital Boston, Dr. Grant Rowe is a very busy man! He sees patients and works in a lab. Dr. Rowe is studying leukemia in infants, which is often a very aggressive disease. His Powered by Pablove research project hopes to illuminate how this disease develops and grows so that new therapies can be targeted to treat it. This grant is funded by Change a Life Foundation.

About Dr. Rowe: Dr. Rowe is a physician scientist at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He specializes in bone marrow transplantation and bone marrow failure disorders.His research is focused on normal and malignant blood stem cells, with an overall aim of understanding the molecular pathobiology of childhood blood disorders. Dr. Rowe was inspired by his pediatrician grandfather to work with kids and is driven by the long term goal of improving how kids with cancer are treated. 

The Need: Leukemia is the most common form of childhood cancer. Despite progress that has been made in improving survival, some patients such as infants continue to do poorly with survival of only about 50%, compared to 85% in childhood B-ALL overall.  These patients are not adequately served by current therapies which are not effective at inducing remission, eliminating residual disease, or preventing relapse. This project is squarely focused on benefiting these patients. 

The Target: Leukemia is a cancer of white blood cells that are manufactured in the bone marrow. When infants develop leukemia, it is often very aggressive and resistant to chemotherapy. Understanding what makes infant leukemia so difficult to treat is limited. Researchers have just begun to understand that not all leukemia cells are the same: there are rare leukemia cells that seem to fuel leukemic growth and also have the ability to resist chemotherapy so that they can cause leukemia to relapse at a later time. These cells are called ‘leukemic stem cells’ or LSCs. Dr. Rowe is finding ways to identify and target LSCs in infants with B-ALL with new drugs to improve our ability to treat infant leukemia.

MAJOR RESEARCH UPDATE – 2021:

Through his Powered by Pablove grant, Dr. Rowe and his research team have successfully identified leukemia stem cells in a very unfavorable form of pediatric ALL and defined their molecular properties. Not only that, they have advanced a new candidate approach to therapy.

When his Pablove funding concluded at the end of 2020, Dr. Rowe continued pursuing this work and leveraged his Powered By Pablove research results to earn a $800,000 grant from the Department of Defense! DoD awards, just like NIH awards, are extremely difficult to secure and only the best of the best ideas and researchers are successful in garnering this prestigious and career-changing support. 

Your support of our Powered by Pablove research grants program paves the way for more advances in pediatric cancer treatments and hope for a cure.

Awarded in 2019