See also our related blog for the Pediatric Preclinical Testing Initiative.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

JMCCF funds Rhabdomyosarcoma Research

We are grateful to the Joanna McAfee Childhood Cancer Foundation for our new 2012 research grant of $12,000 for the project, "60 by 60: Finding the Very Best Targeted Therapy Combination for Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma".  JMCCF is a very important organization not only for funding research, but also for supporting families of childhood cancer patients in central Georgia and beyond. 
We are thankful to our long term partners at JMCCF for allowing us to be part of their mission. 

Welcoming Amy!

We are pleased to Amy Paul join our laboratory as a new intern in pediatric oncology translational research. Amy is a recent graduate of the OHSU School of Nursing and will be functioning in important roles for our childhood tumor bank & registry as well as a canine personalized sarcoma therapy trial.  
in her own words:

"My interest in working in pediatric oncology first arose in 2008 when I spent my first summer during nursing school as a volunteer camp counselor at a camp for children with cancer. For 8 days, I bonded with 18 middle-school aged girls all affected by cancer in some way either as a patient, survivor or as a sibling, I then realized that this was my hearts calling in life as a Registered Nurse and community advocate for cancer. I then started training for a marathon with a local chapter of Team in Training for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society where I recognized and learned the growing importance for cancer research, which deepened my hearts desire to expand my participation in this field of medicine. The ability to directly work with the children and families at Doernbecher's (Children's Hospital) as well in the research lab is an incredible opportunity that will only add to my knowledge and experience in my future nursing practice as I aspire to be a pediatric oncology nurse."
We're excited for Amy to be part of our team and look forward to furthering her career!  

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sincere thanks to ABC2 and CureSearch !

In an incerdible development, ABC2 and CureSearch for Children's Cancer have jointly funded a supplement to the our international collaboration entitled, "Rapid Preclinical Development of a Targeted Therapy Combination for DIPG".  The two new sponsor partners provide $76,000 and $25,000, respectively, for a total of $101,000.  Their new supplement will allow us to exon sequencing of all 16 cell lines, their primary tumor and paired normal DNA via the laboratory of Dr. Paul Spellman (OHSU; see his recent functional genomics paper here). From this data we will prioritize combination drug testing on the most clinically ‘representative’ samples (i.e., samples that have classical DIPG findings which are in order: c‐MET amplification, p53 deletion, PDGFRA amplification, IGF1R/IGF2 amplification, CDK4/CDK6 gain or Shh pathway mutation, EGFR amplification or KRAS/NRAS mutation) or cell lines that are most similar overall to one another (i.e., not outliers).
This project is more fully described here and here. This study was originally made possible by a $100,000 grant from TheCureStartsNow. An additional $28,000 supplement from The Lyla Nsouli Foundation for Children’s Brain Cancer Research further allowed our project to expand to the 2 participating European collaborators.  The new $101,000 from  ABC2 and CureSearch for Children's Cancer adds significant new scope to this endeavor.  The interesting aspect is that a large part of the new scope was envisioned by our ABC2 partner's scientific advisory board - an example of the value of scientific and strategic partnership.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Personalized Cancer Therapy for Pediatric Brain Tumors?

Congratulations to Lara for her very thoughtful editorial on this topic, which is now available online.  Don't miss the accompanying Supplemental Table of potentially-actionable biomarkers.  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

now in print: EGFR as a Therapeutic Target in Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma

[ first posted 2/11/2011 and now updated]

The report of our Pediatric Preclinical Testing Initiative at OHSU on EGFR as a therapeutic target in the childhood muscle cancer rhabdomyosarcoma has been accepted for publication in the journal, Sarcoma.  Co-authors include Keller Lab alumni Sheila Hampton, Courtney Kubicek, Laura Nelon, Aoife Kilcoyne; statistician collaborators Lee Ann Zarzabal and Joel Michalek; experimental therapeutics collaborator Frank Giles; and pathologist collaborator, Brian Rubin.  This work was funded by the Rally Foundation in honor of Matthew Butterfield.  Trainee Jinu Abraham is also a past Scott Carter Foundation fellow.   
[ update 5/11/2011:  the paper can now be viewed online here. ]
[ update 12/06/2011:  the paper is now in print here.  ]

Monday, December 5, 2011

now in print: Bortezomib acts through NOXA in Medulloblastoma

Congratulations again to lab alumni Sachiko and Monika for the publication this month in the Journal of Neuro-Oncology of our study, "Bortezomib stabilizes NOXA and triggers ROS-associated apoptosis in medulloblastoma".  Co-authors include lab alumni Tohru and Laura.  This was a very exciting study funded by the National Brain Tumor Society and the Hyundai Motor Corporation Hope on Wheels Program (precursor studies were funded by St Baldrick's Foundation).  These results have piqued our interest in similar compounds such as Carfilzomib for pediatric medulloblastoma.  

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Congratulations, Monika & Sachiko!

Congratulations to lab alumni Sachiko,Monika, Suresh, Laura, Aofe and current lab members Jinu & Sangeet, as well as collaborators Marti Hanes, Frank Giles and Brian Rubin on our study entitled, "Preclinical Testing of Tandutinib in a Transgenic Medulloblastoma Mouse Model" that is now published online in the Journal of Pediatric Hematology & Oncology.  This work was supported by the Rally Foundation in memory of Coleman Larson

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Multi-disciplinary Collaboration

Many thanks to our Boston-area collaborators for partnership in studying biology and new therapeutics for rhabdomyosarcoma.  So much comes from working across disciplines.     

Monday, November 28, 2011

Congratulations, Sangeet!

We are excited that Sangeet's pilot project proposal, " Chemokine Regulation of the Leptomeningeal Metastasis of Medulloblastoma " has been funded by the Knight Cancer Institute Translational Research Group and made possible by the Schnitzer Investment Corp.  
way to go, Sangeet!

To  Friends at the Schnitzer Investment Corp, our team and I are grateful that you have made possible our pilot grant.  Preventing the spread of brain tumor cells to the spine is an important issue for children of Oregon and across the world.  We hope to take the opportunity you have created for us to study this cancer-related process to not only understand how it occurs, but also to understand how to prevent it (or to treat it if already established).  As you have proven, the community is always an important part of new and innovative research endeavors.  Charles


Lyla Nsouli Foundation funds Supplement to the DIPG Consortium

We are grateful to the The Lyla Nsouli Foundation for Children’s Brain Cancer Research for the $28,000 supplement to our TheCureStartsNow funded project entitled, "Rapid Preclinical Development of a Targeted Therapy Combination for DIPG".  This supplement allows us to expand our six institution consortium in North America to include 2 other expert laboratories in Europe:

  • Dannis G. van Vuurden MD, MSc, & Esther Hulleman, VU Cancer Center Amsterdam, and
  • Jacques Grill, Institut Gustave-Roussy, Villejuif, France

The ultimate goal is to move the most effective single agent or combination therapy forward to early phase clinical trials in the next 18-24 months. This is the first time that a group of basic and translational scientists and physicians from eight institutions throughout North America and Europe have come together as a consortium to focus on DIPGs and to focus on a bench-to-bedside approach to rationally target therapy for children with DIPGs.
For the Open Science Forum week to week update of this project, click here.  

Sunday, November 20, 2011

TheCureStartsNow funds DIPG International Preclinical Study

We and our collaborators are grateful for the new $100,000 award from The Cure Starts Now circle of foundations for our project, Rapid Preclinical Development of a Targeted Therapy Combination for DIPG.  We are excited to get this project underway immediately, which addresses the goal our multi-national team and this foundation and its supporters share in making DIPG a uniformly survivable cancer.  Our team consists of the following laboratories:

Charles Keller MD, Kellie Nazemi MD, Nate Selden MD, PhD and Dan Guillaume MD, PhD at the Oregon Health & Science University
Oren Becher MD, Duke University Medical Center
Michelle Monje MD, PhD, Stanford University
Maryam Fouladi MD, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Cynthia Hawkins, MD, PhD, University of Toronto
Xiao-Nan Li MD, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine

We are again thankful to The DIPG Symposium Collaboration, The Cure Starts Now Foundation, Reflections of Grace Foundation, The Jeffrey Thomas Hayden Foundation, Cancerfree Kids, Carly’s Crusaders, The Max Lacewell Foundation, Smiles for Sophie Forever Foundation and Benny’s World Foundation for making our project possible. 

For the Open Science Forum week to week update of this project, click here.  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Our thanks to the Kyla McCullough Gift Fund

We sincerely thank the family and community that remember Kyla McCullough through the KMGF.  For the second year in a row, the KMGF has sponsored a scientific instrument purchase - here an Intravital Microscope to facilitate improved studies of leptomeningeal metastasis.  We are grateful for this generous gift, and the chance to be part of Kyla's rememberance.  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

CTOS - Second International Conference on Sarcoma Biology

It has been a productive set of tandem meetings.  Charles presented an opening evening session talk at the Second International Conference on Sarcoma Biology on the cell of origin of embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma and undifferentiated sarcomas, while OHSU & the Pediatric Cancer Biology Program have had 3 well-visited posters (including one co-authored by Melissa Hill and our colleagues at the Northwest Sarcoma Foundation).

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Wayman Tisdale Story (osteosarcoma,basketball & jazz)


Reposted from the Scott Carter Foundation website as written by Amanda
Hollywood is coming to Holland Hall! On Saturday, October 29, 2011 the world wide movie premiere of the “The Wayman Tisdale Story” will take place at the Walter Arts Center at Holland Hall. The film celebrates the life and legacy of three time All-American, Gold Medal Olympian, NBA Star, World Renowned Jazz musician and Tulsan, Wayman Tisdale. The event is free and open to the public.
The Wayman Tisdale Story” features never before seen interviews with Wayman Tisdale as he tells his own life story from childhood to his battle with Cancer. The film also features interviews with Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins, Toby Keith, Marcus Miller, Dave Koz, A.C. Green, Jonathan Butler, Steve McKeever, Billy Tubbs and the Tisdale family. Emmy nominated documentary director Brian Schodorf produced and directed the film and will be speaking at the premiere. The Los Angeles Times says “The Wayman Tisdale Story is a must-see film for all audiences.” View the trailer here.
The Scott Carter Foundation is excited to join forces with filmmaker Brian Schodorf to host the first public screening of “The Wayman Tisdale Story“. The event will be just like a Hollywood premiere–complete with a red carpet, photo ops, and the viewing of the hour long documentary. “The Wayman Tisdale Story” has been featured in multiple film festivals and has won numerous awards. It also features the song “Cryin’ for Me” which was written and performed as a tribute to Tisdale by Toby Keith.
Wayman Tisdale passed away in 2009 after a two-year battle with Cancer. He suffered from Osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, that also took the life of Tulsan, Scott Carter at age 13 in 1993. According to the American Cancer Society, each year about 800 new cases of Osteosarcoma are diagnosed in the United States. About 400 of these are in children and teens. Osteosarcoma is not a common Cancer and more research is needed. To date, the Scott Carter Foundation has raised $1.7 million for Children’s Cancer research. Read more about the Foundation here.  “The Wayman Tisdale Story” premiere will take place at 7:30pm on Saturday, October 29 at the Walter Arts Center at Holland Hall, located at 5666 East 81st Street (Tulsa, Oklahoma). Doors open at 6:30pm. The event is free and open to the public. The Tisdale family, Director Brian Schodorf and the Carter family will be available for interviews. A copy of the movie is available upon request.

now available from e-bookstands: The Miles Levin Story

reposted from
Miles Levin, a gifted but unfocused teenager from suburban Detroit – whiling away hours on videogames – is jolted by a diagnosis of a deadly cancer. Working out his feelings in writing on a blog, his charm, humor, spirit, and unceasing honesty drew the attention of readers from around the world. You - as have tens of thousands of others - will be amazed, humbled, and helped by what he wrote as he struggled with the hardships destiny imposed on him. Bob Woodruff, ABC news journalist, said of Miles, “He has told us what it means to live life without fear, but with Joy.”
While most of Miles’ days were challenging, some were filled with the happiness every teenager hopes to have – the thrill of first love, the fun of prom night, and the caring and admiration of friends. Cancer was bringing an end to his life, but he brought completion to his life. In so doing he inspires us to be mindful, loving, joyful, and thankful. He left us an enduring gift, thereby fulfilling his greatest desire when he wrote: “Dying is not what scares me; it’s dying having had no impact.” 
The link to the e-bookstands wesbite for this book is here

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Whose data?

For an interesting concept, see Sage Bionetwork's website on a new trend for patients to have access to data generated from their own samples.  Quoting, "Key objectives: Enable patients to obtain their own data back from samples they donate to trials".  A very provocative idea! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Leaving a Legacy - the value of tumor tissue from Autopsy

While a difficult topic, there may be times where a cancer death can have more meaning by improving knowledge of the disease through tissue donations after life.  For the first in a series of publications related to childhood cancer 'Legacy Gifts', see our co-authored paper in the journal Cancer entitled, "The clinical, research, and social value of autopsy after any cancer death: A perspective from the Children's Oncology Group Soft Tissue Sarcoma Committee".

More information can also be found at or our partner website at the Northwest Sarcoma Foundation.  See also our PCB related blog entries on this topic.  

OPEN SCIENCE FORUM:   (updated 04/05/2012, with comments welcome!) 
Below are our academic-community team's intended project milestones for defining a path to survival for the most incurable childhood cancers:

  • begin national dialogue with pediatric oncologists about the topic. 
    • Legacy Gift Workshop presented at Fall 2011 Children’s Oncology Group (COG) meeting, in partnership with two Sandy Smith and Kim Spady, who themselves are cancer survivors presented their families experiences with tissue donation after their sons passed away from brainstem gliomas.  Sandy and Kim are passionate supporters of families on this topic, and have first-hand experience facilitating these types of tissue donations after life (at autopsy).  
  • understand and publish the potential barriers to autopsy as understood from interviews of families conducted under our NCI-funded project, NIH/NCI R01CA133229-04S2.
    • This study is the successor to the position paper we published for the COG Soft Tissue Sarcoma committee:
      • Sheri L. Spunt, Sara O. Vargas, Cheryl M. Coffin, Stephen X. Skapek, David M. Parham, Joan Darling, Douglas S. Hawkins, Charles Keller.  The Clinical, Research, and Social Value of Autopsy after Any Cancer Death:  A Perspective from the Children’s Oncology Group Soft Tissue Sarcoma Committee.  Cancer, 2011 Oct 17 epub [PMID 22006470]
  • create a shift in culture among medical care providers by seeking to have an educational session on how to approach the topic of autopsy with families at the COG Fall 2012 meeting.
    • This is a successor to the Fall COG 2010 workshop, OVERCOMING AUTOPSY BARRIERS IN PEDIATRIC CANCER RESEARCH: Providing Hope For Tomorrow’s Cures described above.
  • optimize to work in parallel with other websites such as, having peer education & caregiver guidelines as well as assistance for families via an online single-point-of-contact.
  • write a Children’s Oncology Group autopsy banking protocol for all childhood cancers by multi-institutional collaboration by Spring 2012.
    • All specimens would be sent to the COG Biorepository in Columbus, Ohio.
    • Access to any specimen in the COG Biorepository would require COG disease subcommittee scientific peer review to ensure the study request was scientifically rigorous and used only the amount of sample absolutely required (in order to increase the number of studies per tissue collection).
  • seek a foundation that would help fund the costs of autopsy collection kits, as well as a reimbursement to COG institutions for the logistics of packaging and shipping autopsy collections by Summer 2012.
  • encourage broad use of these highly valuable, high informative tissue specimens starting Fall 2012 so that the 1 in 5 children not cured of cancer may someday survive his/her cancer.
01/09/2012:  manuscript for the NCI-funded study of autopsy barriers to be submitted today.
03/28/2012:  Effort to create an autopsy educational session for the Fall COG session instead suggested to be made an educational session at the ASPHO conference.
04/05/2012:  Consortium grant for COG-based autopsy program submitted today to St Baldrick's Foundation.
05/17/2012:  Jen presents Legacy Gift study at APOSW national conference in Portland.  
06/26/2012:  Consortium grant for COG-based autopsy program received 2 overwhelmingly positive reviews, and one very brief non-positive review.  Project will not be funded.  Effort will be revised and resubmitted for funding elsewhere.  Copy of the submitted grant and reviews are available on request.  
06/27/2012:  Manuscript submitted to a scientific journal is now in revision, and will be resubmitted within the week.
08/16/2012:  Manuscript accepted to Pediatric Blood & Cancer, the leading journal in pediatric hematology-oncology.  Congratulations to Jen and all co-authors!
09/06/2012:  Rally Foundation takes a bold new step to bring this effort to a national level!
09/26/2012:  paper is now published online here.
02/01/2013:  See the editorial, "Pediatric autopsy consent: Helping families create hope out of despair", written in Pediatric Blood & Cancer here (it accompanies our paper's print version is the same issue).  

our approach to Personalized Cancer Therapy

Many thanks to the team and to the patients that helped created this first video version of our vision for personalized cancer therapy.  The approach will probably be moved from canine patients to human patients in the context of relapsed disease.  It's certainly something we are moving ahead as quickly and as carefully as we can.  A high resolution of our video can also be found here.  

Friday, September 30, 2011

ABC2 Summit in Sausalito

The last 2 days leaders in glioblastoma research have met in a special, collaboration-promoting summit sponsored by Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2).  Highlights include understanding the influence of metabolism on glioblastoma tumor cell fitness, the mechanism of action of thalidomide, and more.  By far, the best aspect of this project was the community involvement (hence, accountability for collaboration) and the industry - academic interface that this environment creates.  A very significant industry interest was expressed in DIPG (pontine gliomas).  More news to come...

Many thanks to Max & David of ABC2 for creating such a rich environment for collaboration.  To learn about the life of Dan Case and the creation of ABC2, click here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rhabdomyosarcoma Research presented in Ascona

We are grateful to Denis Guttridge (Ohio State), David Glass (Novartis) and Markus Ruegg (University of Basel) for the opportunity to present our work on the epigenetic determinates of rhabdomyosarcoma at the 2011 International Conference on Molecular Mechanisms of Muscle Growth and Wasting in Health and Disease.  Our laboratory's work was very well received, and new collaborations were established that take us into new, exciting multidisciplinary areas.  
[ The conference was sited at Centro Stefano Franscini in Ascona, Switzerland (pictured). ]

Friday, September 9, 2011

Personalized Medicine Talk with Georgetown Colleagues

We are grateful to Dr. Aykut Uren and colleagues including Todd Waldman and Jeff Toretsky for the opportunity to present our research and approaches to personalized cancer therapy as part of the  the Georgetown University Hospital/Lombardi Cancer Center visiting professorship series.  The ideas exchanged bring both groups closer to our goal of improving survival for the 1 in 5 children for which current therapy is yet not sufficient for long term survival.    

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Update on the Personalized Cancer Therapy Trial - for Canine Osteosarcoma

Congratulations to Lara on an excellent research-in-progress presentation at the Annual OHSU-DCH Pediatric Fellows Research Conference.  This Phase II clinical trial for dogs with osteosarcoma opened 2 weeks ago.  The early success of this collaboration is a large part attributable to the strong collaboration with Dr. Bernard Seguin at Oregon State University Veterinary Hospital and lab members and alumni, Jinu and (especially) Nicolle, respectively.  

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Scott Carter Foundation Big Show!

Last night in Tulsa was the Scott Carter Foundation Big Show! that precedes the annual golf tournament fundraiser.  Scott was a young boy who had osteosarcoma, but without regard for himself he was passionate that other children like his friend Addie should have better available treatments.  He created an effort to raise money for childhood cancer research, and in his memory Scott's family and community annually raise funds that support the training of new research scientists, which have included Charles more than a decade ago, as well as our own lab's recent graduates: Koichi Nishijo, Jinu Abraham and Nicolle Hofmann.  We are grateful to the Scott Carter Foundation for their support of our trainees and our research on sarcomas, including osteosarcoma.
[ right, John Grant mc'g the auction; left, Charles and Paul 'Ole Dad' Compton, Scott's grandfather. ]

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Collaborator, Dr. John Ohlfest

MPR News LogoFor a summary from Minnesota Public Radio on the promising tumor immunology approach of brain tumor researcher, Dr. John Ohlfest, click here.  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Patrick M. Callahan Memorial Fund

Our thanks go to the generous support of the family and community of Patrick Callahan, in whose memory Patrick lives on despite the 15 month battle with metastatic alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma that claimed his life at age 24.  Patrick is remembered as a smiling and joyful young man (and dedicated Phillies fan), and it is in this spirit that "Patrick's Team" of Elaine and Janelle are pursuing a research project sponsored by the PMCMF to understand the process of alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma metastasis.  

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Jared's Juggernaut to Cure Sarcoma

We are sincerely grateful to Robyn Grossman and the community supporting Jared's Juggernaut to Cure Sarcoma for their recent, generous gift to support research of rhabdomyosarcoma.  Jared was no stranger to challenges, making his way through adolescent and young adult life despite learning disabilities by graduating high school a year early and achieving a 3.4 college GPA (despite a 5 year battle with rhabdomyosarcoma).  Jared was the best in us, and the inspiration to do more than we think is possible.  Through the research support provided in his memory, we will work towards developing new rhabdomyosarcoma cell cultures enriched in tumor stem cells, and we will perform molecularly-targeted drug screen testing specifically of these metastasis-prone cells.  This work will be done by our lab members Emma (left) and Jen (right), who will be "Jared's Team".

Monday, July 18, 2011

Wesley’s Cure for Cancer Research Foundation

We are grateful to Matthew Nelson and the Wesley’s Cure for Cancer Research Foundation (WCCRF) for their recent generous donation that fuels our medulloblastoma cancer research.  Inspired by the experiences of a young neighbor going through treatments for this aggressive brain tumor of childhood, Matthew created this grass-roots effort to honor Wesley and create hope that more effective, less toxic treatments might one day be available.  'Welsey's Team' in the Keller laboratory will use these funds to help test new, molecularly-targeted drugs for high risk and recurrent medulloblastoma.  
[ "Wesley's Team"    left to right:  Elaine (PPTI operational manager), Jinu (PPTI scientific manager), and Melanie (medical student and Summer research intern) ]

Children's Healing Art Project

We are thankful to the Children's Healing Art Project for providing us artwork from childhood cancer patients for our laboratory.  The CHAP mobile teaching artists do wonderful things for children to help them express their feelings on their journey through cancer treatment, and at the same time we get this great art!  Shown to the right is our microscope room, for which we needed to block light through a window... now we have an inspiring set of images as we go to do our our work.  

Monday, July 11, 2011

Schmidt Laboratory Retreat

It was a pleasure to spend the past few days with liver biologist and fellow Capecchi lab alumnist, Ed Schmidt, and his lab, colleagues and family for a backcountry Montana retreat (hiking and camping trip, complete with pack donkeys).  And yes, when scientists go camping we do talk a lot of science :) but the kids also get a special set of 'guides' to nature.  

Friday, June 17, 2011

Our thanks to the Thrasher Foundation

We are grateful to the Thrasher Foundation for the Early Career Award to our AYA Fellow, Lara Davis.  Her project, "Translating ex vivo osteosarcoma targeted drug sensitivity into improved survival" investigates personalized cancer therapy for this adolescent and young adult cancer - using pet dogs that spontaneously develop osteosarcoma as a model.  Thrasher Foundation has a long tradition of funding pediatric medical research, in the tradition of its founder E.W. "Al" Thrasher.
Congratulations, Lara!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Welcoming Janelle

We are excited to Welcome Janelle Myers to the Keller Laboratory as a Summer internship student.  With one year left to finish an undergraduate degree in integrated science and chemistry at Northwestern University, Janelle is here to get a rich experience in biomedical research (one of her many possible career paths). Janelle remarks that she still doesn't have an answer to the eternal questions about what she wants to do with her life--subatomic physics, nutritional chemistry, and French cuisine (she spent the last nine months in Strasbourg) are all vying with cancer biology. A Portland native, Janelle says she is happy to be back in the city of roses and is looking forward to a great Summer. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tandutinib in Medulloblastoma

Congratulations again to Sachiko and Monika on their recent manuscript acceptance and upcoming publication in the Journal of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology addressing the therapeutic role of Tandutinib (MLN518) in medulloblastoma.  Co-authors include fellow lab members Sangeet & Jinu and lab alumni Suresh, Laura and Aoife.  Collaborating co-authors are Brian Rubin (Cleveland), Marti Hanes (San Antonio) and Frank Giles (Galway, Ireland). 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Outrunning Cancer - a Runner's World story

[ from the Northwest Sarcoma Foundation Newsletter ]


The July issue of Runner's World magazine highlights Serena Burla, an elite runner, and her personal story of her fight against synovial sarcoma. The Runner's World special, Outrunning Cancer, includes "over 40 pages of content on the powerful link between running and cancer and how running races to benefit cancer charities has become a critical fundraising tool for charities" like the Northwest Sarcoma Foundation.
To read more about Serena and her amazing story visit:  


Monday, May 30, 2011

Welcoming Graduate Student, Rebecca Smith

We are excited to have rotation student, Rebecca Smith, join our lab team this Summer.

about Rebecca in her own words:
... with a BA in English and French  (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and an MA in 18th Century British Literature (University of Michigan—Ann Arbor), I often get perplexed stares when I say I am starting a PhD in biosciences. After spending 12 years at home raising my twin daughters and deeply entrenched in community volunteering, I started searching for something intensely fulfilling to satisfy the professional hole in my life. I begin taking basic science classes with the idea of going to medical school. Along the way I was awarded an internship in the lab of Dr. Stephen Lloyd (OHSU) in which I got my first real taste of research. I then pursued a volunteer position in the lab of Dr. Thomas Scanlan (OHSU) and have spent approximately 7 months working nearly full time. Dr. Keller interviewed me when I sought admission to the PhD program (PMCB), and it was clear to me that this lab would provide challenge, stimulation, and opportunity. I am grateful for a summer rotation and will focus both on learning new protocols and the science behind them and contributing to the lab’s research through my work.

We are honored to have Rebecca and her inquisitive nature added to our team!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Scott Michael Carter Memorial Lectureship

For the News blog entry from the Scott Carter Foundation, click here. For the Pediatric Cancer Biology Program blog entry, click here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rally Foundation funds Undifferentiated Sarcoma Research

We are grateful to the Rally Foundation for a grant of $25,000 to fund our PPTI research project, Targeted Therapy for Undifferentiated Sarcomas. This award is in honor of a little 4 year old girl named Ava whose life was interrupted by this same cancer. We hope to understand this rare kind of cancer, and to develop non-chemotherapy approaches that are life sustaining for future children who may face the same challenge.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Congratulations, Sachiko and Monika !

Through careful, systematic investigation the work on the mechanism of proteosome inhibitor efficacy in medulloblastoma has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Neuro-Oncology.  As a matter of full disclosure, the lead to an important facet of this paper was in fact suggested by a Reviewer!  This study is co-first authored by Monika and Sachiko.  Other authors include Keller lab alumnists Tohru and Laura.
This work was supported by a research grant from the National Brain Tumor Society.  

[ 6/5/2011 update:  the paper is now online at here ]

Welcoming Emma!

We are excited to welcome recent college graduate Emma Cantor to our team!  Emma brings with her rich experiences in molecular biology research as a college student, medicosocial outreach to the youth community and pediatric and cancer care exposures.  Emma's Summer internship will include participation in the Childhood Cancer Registry for Familial and Sporadic Tumors [CCURE-FAST] tumor bank & registry as well as preclinical therapeutics studies.
in Emma's own words:

"My interest in pediatric oncology began during my high school years when I worked as a child life volunteer in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Cancer Center.  Since then, I have continued to explore my interests in both medicine and pediatrics through EMT training and work as the Chief Pediatric Emergency Medicine Research Associate in the St. Louis Children’s Hospital.  After just graduating from Washington University in St. Louis (May 2011) with a BA in Biology and Anthropology, I am excited to return to my roots in the Northwest to join the Keller Lab."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

In Appreciation: Douglas Church

Tireless is often a figurative term, but in Doug's case it can be a literal adjective. Our lab team often comes in for a 'second shift'.  But we're often not the only ones up in the Biomedical Research Building...  Tonight, 9:13pm, as usual -- Doug is still doing his first shift... and a very long one at that!  Doug is a key administration and grants person who strives for excellence, and it shows not only in his hours but also the quality of what he does.  
Thank you, Doug!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Congratulations, Tohru !

Many congratulations to Tohru that his study of the role of the Rb1 gene in muscle stem cells has been accepted for publication in The Journal of Biological Chemistry.  This particular study was a lot of work, and it is the third paper by Tohru from his postdoctoral fellowship in our laboratory (the other in press & recent in print studies were on the muscle cancer rhabdomyosarcoma and a strangely muscle-like ontogeny of pituitary progenitor cells).  Tohru is truly a scientist for all seasons.
Co-authors of the JBC study include current KellerLab member, Guangheng Li, as well as KellerLab alumnists Suresh Prajapati and Koichi Nishijo.  
[ Pictured to the right is Tohru with his wife, Dr. Sachiko Ohshima-Hosoyama, who also is a KellerLab alumnist. ]
[ now Online! click here.  Print publication will be June 3. ]

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Welcoming Sangeet

We are excited to welcome postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Sangeet Lal, to the Keller laboratory.  Sangeet brings expertise in malignant glioma tumor microenvironment and unique animal model to our laboratory & program.  

An introduction in Sangeet's own words, 

" My first exposure to basic science research happened during my M.Sc. at I.I.T., Bombay, India, and my interest in this career matured during my tenure as a research assistant at ICGEB, India. I want to establish my research career in developing tumor cell-specific targeting strategies. During my doctoral training in Jeffrey Greenwood’s lab at Oregon State University, I developed my knowledge of cancer cell biology while studying the mechanisms regulating invasion of glioblastoma cells using transparent zebrafish as in-vivo and organotypic mouse brain slices as ex-vivo approaches. My post-doctoral research in Dr. Keller’s lab will focus on investigating factors responsible for leptomeningeal metastasis in pediatric brain tumors. "

We're very glad to have Sangeet on our team!

Monday, April 4, 2011

AACR Annual Meeting

Today at the American Association for Cancer Research in Orlando, Ken presented his poster on The role of protein kinase Cι in alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.  Charles also began his term on the tumor microenvironment (TME) steering committee. 
An emerging theme is that targeted (non-chemotherapy) drugs probably need to be given in combination for most solid tumors, and that the complexity of cancer and nearby non-cancerous tissue needs to be considered for targeted treatment, too.  

Sunday, March 27, 2011

COG Brain Tumor Preclinical Symposium

Our thanks to all the speakers and thought leaders that participated in the COG-CNS Developmental Therapeutics (DVL) Symposium on Friday.  This Children's Oncology Group special science symposium on childhood brain tumors was designed to bring together scientists and clinicians to create systematic approaches to integrating recent advances in brain tumor research and newly emerging preclinical resources to create tangible, actionable 6 month milestones.  Organizers included Amar Gajjar (St Jude; Chair of COG-CNS cmte), Maryam Fouladi (Cincinnati Children's Hospital; co-chair CNS-DVL) and Charles Keller (OHSU; co-chair of CNS-DVL).  Speakers were Jim Olson (Univ of Washington/FHCRC), Anita Hjelmeland (Lerner Institute/Cleveland Clinic), Xiao-Nan Li (Baylor/Texas Children's Cancer Center), Anang Shelt (St Jude), Clinton Stewart (St Jude) and Richard Gilbertson (St Jude).  Particularly impressive were the special pharmacokinetic models from Dr. Stewart, the new preclinical models from Dr. Li, and the outstanding eppendymoma science from Dr. Gilbertson. It was an active session with important ideas from many thought leaders across North America, and importantly, an inclusive plan is in place to bring new drug (and new drug combinations) into effect for the most devastating of childhood brain tumors.    

Friday, March 18, 2011

Imran selected as a 2011/212 HHMI Fellow

Many congratulations to Imran Alsam who has been selected as a Medical Research Fellows Program of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  This unique and prestigious program permits high-achieving medical students to take a year away from medical school to conduct focused research.  For his year, Imran will work on tumor cell evolution in a collaborative project between the Keller and Druker laboratories.  
  Congratulations again, Imran, on this great achievement along your path to becoming leading physician-scientist!    
[ update 7/17/2011:  Imran was highlighted in the AMA Foundation June e-news! ]

Monday, March 7, 2011

Congratulations, Tohru and Imran !

We are excited that Tohru and Imran's study of IL-4 Receptor as a therapeutic target in rhabdomyosarcoma has been accepted for publication in the journal, Clinical Cancer Research.  Co-authors include PPTI Scientific Manager Jinu Abraham, as well as lab alumni Suresh, Koichi and Laura.  Collaborator co-authors are Lee Ann Zarzabal & Joel Michalek (UTHSCSA), Denis Guttridge (Ohio State) and Brian Rubin (Cleveland Clinic).  This work was funded in part by the Scott Carter Foundation, the AMA Foundation, the Joanna McAfee Childhood Cancer Foundation and the National Cancer Institute.   
[ update 5/11/2011:  view the article online here.  ]