Rebecca Dodd, PhD, assistant professor in Hematology, Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplantation, has been awarded a four-year, $792,000 American Cancer Society Research Scholar grant. Dodd will examine events driving the metastasis of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs), a group of aggressive sarcomas. Connective tissue sarcomas account for 15% of all pediatric cancers. However, the biological mechanisms behind MPNST metastasis has not been explored.
“New therapeutic approaches are desperately needed for MPNSTs, as survival rates have not improved in the past 30 years,” Dodd said. “Up to 50% of MPNSTs metastasize, and outcomes for patients with metastatic disease is poor.”
Dodd plans to explore the key molecular events in MPNSTs in hopes to identify new therapeutic approaches. In the upcoming studies, Dodd will incorporate a multidisciplinary approach that includes three-dimensional cell assays, CRISPR/Cas9 models, multiphoton microscopy, and pharmacological techniques.