Laura Perin, PhD

Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Cancer Stem Cells in Wilms Tumor: Can the Self-Renewal State Be Pushed to Nephrogenesis?

A scientific researcher at CHLA, Dr. Laura Perin is using cutting edge methods to study kidney development.  With her Powered by Pablove research grant, she hopes to improve our understanding of how kidney tumors develop in children.

In Dr. Perin’s own words:

Wilms Tumor (WT), a pediatric cancer known as nephroblastoma, accounts for 95% of the renal malignancies in children. WT originates from uncontrolled proliferation of nephron progenitors, the cells responsible for the generation of the entire kidney, thus preventing the proper formation of functional kidney filtration systems. Even if surgery and chemotherapy contribute significantly to a high survival rate, the recurrence of this tumor is common and patients suffer from many side effects, including decreased kidney function, heart disease, and development of additional cancers in adult life. Studies on these nephron progenitors in WT are hampered by the possibility of isolating them alive to perform in vivo and in vitro studies. We recently developed an innovative method to isolate from WT samples and perform characterization studies. We have also evidence that we can control their proliferation by modulating the activity of the integrinß4 signaling. Based on our data we hypothesize that these nephron progenitors are responsible for tumor growth and that the inhibition of integrinß4 signaling reduces further growth and metastasis. We propose to study the mechanisms that regulate nephron progenitors proliferation and perform in vivo transplants to determine if inhibiting integrinß4 signaling will inhibit tumor development. Our proposal will increase our knowledge of WT biology and will aid the development of new therapeutics for patients struggling with this disease.

Following her Powered by Palove funding, Dr. Perin received a $100,000 intramural grant from CHLA to continue her wilms tumor research.

Awarded in 2019