Home » Researchers Collaborate in Inter-institutional Initiative to Diagnose Sickle Cell Anemia and Identify Cells in the Most Common Malignant Brain Tumor
HOUSTON – Jan. 27, 2013
by Corbin Dodge
Researchers from Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers are collaborating on numerous projects, including a diagnostic test for sickle cell anemia and a method of identifying cells in medulloblastomas.
Both projects unite researchers based at Rice University’s BioScience Research Collaborative and Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers, affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. This is the fourth round of seed grants in a decade-long program.
Each of the award recipients will receive approximately $100,000 of grant support to foster interdisciplinary and inter-institutional research collaborations. The initiative is administered by The Gulf Coast Consortia, a program that brings together the strengths of six Texas Medical Center member institutions. Member institutions of the Gulf Coast Consortia include: Baylor College of Medicine, Rice University, the University of Houston, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Ching Lau, M.D., Ph.D., a faculty member at Texas Children’s Cancer Center, and Ka-Yiu San, Ph.D., a Rice bioengineer, will use the funding to target stem cells in pediatric patients that have relapsed brain cancer.
Particularly, Lay and San hope to establish a method to identify stem cells in medulloblastoma, a form of pediatric brain cancer that is the most common malignant brain tumor suffered by children.
The researchers aim to use the knowledge gained from identifying the stem cells to track how patients respond to cancer treatment.
Dr. Ching Lau’s laboratory has previously discovered that medulloblastoma stem cells appear to thrive in low-oxygen conditions that normal cells would be unable to thrive in.
Lau and San are undergoing the project in hopes that the results will lead to the discovery of more effective novel treatments for medulloblastoma, as well as other cancers that resist conventional therapy.