Translational Research

PedsHem - Translational Research

The laboratory of Barbara A. Miller, MD, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, focuses on the role of ion channels in cell proliferation and differentiation and in carcinogenesis. Dr. Miller’s laboratory is studying the function of members of the TRP superfamily of cation channels in malignant cell proliferation in leukemia, lymphoma, and neuroblastoma. Alternative splice variants resulting in aberrant channel function may contribute to development of the malignant phenotype as well as chemotherapy resistance. Because these channels are located on the cell surface, they have tremendous potential as future targets for drug therapy. In work funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), her laboratory is also exploring the role of these channels in erythropoiesis.

The laboratory of Kenneth G. Lucas, MD, Director of Pediatric SCT, focuses on modulating the immune system to improve outcomes in bone marrow transplantation and to treat childhood cancer. His laboratory has developed a novel, rapid way of expanding CMV specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes to make CMV immunotherapy available to a greater number of patients following stem cell transplant. Dr. Lucas is also conducting a Phase I clinical trial involving vaccine therapy to treat patients with neuroblastoma, as well as adult patients with relapsed AML following allogeneic stem cell transplantation. For details see the Pediatric Cancer Immunotherapy Program.

The laboratory of Sinisa Dovat, MD, PhD, Director of Translational Research for both the Four Diamonds Pediatric Cancer Research Center and the Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Program, focuses on the following projects:

  •  Biology and Treatment of Leukemia - to define the mechanism of tumor suppression of childhood leukemia. This project studies the mechanism by which Ikaros, a tumor suppressor gene, controls the growth of leukemia cells in order to design a novel treatment for this disease.
  • Molecular Mechanisms of Cellular Immortalization an Senescence - to elucidate epigenomic changes that control cellular immortalization of malignant cells. This project will dissect epigenomic events that control cellular immortalization and senescence in order to design a new class of drugs that regulate this process.
  • Accelerated Drug Discovery - to use functional genomics and system biology approaches to accelerate the discovery of new drugs and drug combinations for childhood malignancies.

Dr. Dovat's research is patient-oriented and translational with an emphasis on understanding basic mechanisms of disease in order to integrate the latest research achievements into clinical practice.