CURE Childhood Cancer Proudly Announces $5 Million in Research Grants
Largest Annual Disbursement to Date

(SAVANNAH, GA)  – CURE Childhood Cancer, the only organization providing financial and emotional support to local children and families while raising funds to further critical research specifically for childhood cancer treatments, announces $5 million in research grants for its 2022-2023 fiscal year. The grants have been awarded to top scientists at leading pediatric cancer research institutions across the nation and represent CURE’s highest disbursement in a single grant cycle. This brings CURE’s total investment in research over the last 17 years to more than $44 million. New for this grant cycle, CURE is awarding two-year grants in both its Early Investigators and Translation to CURE Award groupings.

“We are so pleased and proud that CURE is providing an outstanding level of support to very promising research this year,” said Kristin Connor, CEO of CURE Childhood Cancer. “We opted to fund two-year grants this year so researchers can focus on finding cures rather than finding funding. All of the grants aim to make better-tolerated and less-toxic therapies, with a special emphasis on relapsed and refractory disease where current treatments are quite noxious and often not very effective for children.”

CURE’s funding decisions are guided by its Peer Review Committee, a group of practicing oncologists and academic scientists who conduct a rigorous review of more than 50 proposals to assess both scientific merit and alignment with CURE’s goals. Of those proposals, CURE selected 11 studies to fund, most of which offer hope of testing more effective treatments for childhood cancers with poor prognosis within 2-3 years.

“Using their collective expertise in research and the clinical care of children with cancer, the committee selected the most innovative investigators and beneficial research projects through a national competition submitted in March 2023,” said William C. Phelps, PhD, leader of CURE’s Peer Review Committee. “Independent, comprehensive, and confidential peer review ensures that CURE’s investments in research are focused on those projects most likely to significantly improve outcomes for children with cancer.”

CURE’s 2023 Pediatric Cancer Research Initiative includes the following studies:

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta/Emory University

  • Aflac Precision Medicine Program – $1.5 million. Advances in precision medicine have helped scientists design studies targeting specific molecular pathways required for cancer growth. Shared information from multi-institutional programs is giving investigators the needed insights to research new treatments and clinical trials to reach children sooner than before.

Early Investigators (Two-year grants)

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta/Emory University

  • Shubin Shahab, MD – PBK and let-7 Group 3 medulloblastoma treatment resistance

Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

  • Kyle L. MacQuarrie, MD, PhD – Biological consequences of altered chromosomal organization in rhabdomyosarcoma cells

Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital (Cleveland)

  • Kristen Van Heyst, DO – Tumor microenvironment modulation as an effective therapy for osteosarcoma

Translation to CURE Awards (Two-year grants)

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta/Emory University

  • Kelly Goldsmith, MD – Second generation gamma delta T-cell therapy for neuroblastoma and osteosarcoma

Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School

  • Yana Pikman, MD – Targeting RAS pathway mutations for pediatric acute leukemia therapy
  • Pietro Genovese, PhD – Empowering pediatric immunotherapies by HSC engineering

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

  • Praveen B. Raju, MD, PhD – Nanotherapeutic targeting of PPM1D inhibitors across the blood-brain barrier for DIPG

Stanford University

  • Agnieszka Czechowicz, MD, PhD – Development of receptor tyrosine kinase-targeting chimeric antigen receptor T-cells as dual hematopoietic stem cell transplantation conditioning and immunotherapeutic agents for cure of pediatric acute myeloid leukemia

Seattle Children’s Hospital

  • Elizabeth Lawlor, Md, PhD – Augmenting the efficacy of BET inhibitors for metastatic Ewing sarcoma

University of Alabama at Birmingham

  • Erwin Van Meir, PhD – Small molecule targeting of epigenetic reader MBD2 for medulloblastoma therapy

University of Minnesota

  • Beau Webber, PhD – Genetically engineered gamma delta T-cells for treatment of metastatic osteosarcoma

Full funding of three fellowships

Dr. Robert Lisac, MD
 – Sam Robb Fellow. A childhood cancer survivor, Dr. Lisac endured years of complications from a bone marrow transplant. Because of this, his research specializes in bone marrow transplants and survivorship.

Dr. Jason Stevenson, MD – Connelly Family Fellow. 
Inspired to enter the medical profession by his mother, a nurse, his clinical and research interests include leukemia/lymphoma and the factors affecting adverse events and outcomes during treatment.

Toni Chanroo, MD – Dr. Chanroo is a first-year fellow entering her fellowship with a strong interest in the care of pediatric cancer survivors. She developed a passion for this patient population in medical school and residency.

Founded in 1975, CURE Childhood Cancer is dedicated to conquering childhood cancer through funding targeted research while supporting patients and their families. With cancer as the second leading cause of death in children, CURE has dedicated more than $38MM to specific research projects aimed at curing cancers that affect children. CURE is headquartered in Atlanta and has an active staff operating throughout the greater Savannah area. It is the only organization funding pediatric cancer research and providing this level of financial and emotional support to local children and families across Georgia and parts of South Carolina. For more information, visit

Cynthia Cradduck
Managing Partner, Cecilia Russo Marketing