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

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lara's video interview for Damon Runyon Foundation
We are very proud that Lara is a Damon Runyon-Sohn Fellow.  The Foundation interviewed its fellows recently, and the interview of Lara describing her project can be seen here.  A critical part of Lara's project is a computational approach to determining targeted drug combinations, which is made possible through the innovation of our collaborators, Ranadip Pal and Noah Berlow.  
Lara is very passionate about finding new treatments for even the most challenging individual cases of osteosarcoma in pediatric, adolescent and young adults.  It means a lot to have her on our team.  

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Welcoming Mathew

We are fortunate to have a new physician(surgeon)-scientist training in our laboratory, Dr. Mathew Geltzeiler.  Mathew Geltzeiler first visited Oregon in high school when he descended Mt. Hood for ski race training during the summers.  He then studied neuroscience at Brown University and medicine at Boston University during which time he had numerous publications in clinical prostate cancer research. He is currently a third year resident in Head and Neck Surgery at OHSU.  He has an interest in Head and Neck Oncology and applications of Personalized Cancer Care (his 6 month residency research project in the lab).  In his free time, he continues to ski at Mt. Hood as well avidly hike, camp and photograph nature.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Technology Transfer Achievement Award

Our laboratory is grateful to the OHSU Technology Transfer and Business Development Office for the award of the 2012 Technology Transfer Achievement Award.  It is actually the other way around... the staff at the TTBDO that deserve the award!  The team of Travis Cook, Ruth Epling and (especially) Tommy Pham make possible relationships with businesses and pharmaceutical makers that open new avenues of exploration in the mission to create tangible new therapies for childhood cancer.  This is a unique group of professionals... they are advocates of the children and families touched by these cancers, and this team is integral to our research program.  We thank Tommy, Ruth and Travis for all that they do. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Patient Wall: our thanks to many

We are grateful to all the families across the world that contributed to the laboratory patient wall at OHSU.  These families, touched by cancer, remind us not only of why innovation and time are of the essence, but also that cancer does not define these families, and there is childhood to return to once cancer is a uniformly curable condition.

The generous employees of Planar made possible the digital presentations of more than 300 family pictures.  Most of the credit in designing and implementing the wall goes to lab member, Jen Alabran, whose scientific expertise is matched only by her compassion for children with cancer.

We look forward to the day of Giving Back Childhood to all children touched by cancer.

[additional photos will be accepted on a continuing basis for families wishing to share their photos and stories. contact Charles via keller(at) ]


Friday, October 19, 2012

The Not-so-Skinny on Muscle Cancer

Click here to read Ken's Cancer Cell commentary on this report of a mouse model of embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma derived from white and brown fat progenitor cells.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

DragonSlayer Portland 2012

Our team name at the Northwest Sarcoma Foundation "DragonSlayer" event this year was the Sarcoma Smashers.  This was the biggest DragonSlayer event Portland has ever seen. 658 participants whose efforts helped us raise $30,000 for sarcoma research!  Check out our flickr link with all of the event photos.  To view photos of the event click here as well as here.  

Friday, October 5, 2012

International Exchange of Ideas on Sarcomas

We are grateful to our collaborators Monica Suelves and Miquel Angel Peinado at the IMPPC in Barcelona for the invitation to present our results of collaborative studies on epigenetic influences of the cell of origin of rhabdomyosarcoma.

Following this visit, the work of KellerLab-DrukerLab co-mentored HHMI medical student, M. Imran Aslam, entitled, "PDGFR reverses Eph signaling in alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma" was presented at the ESF-EMBO Symposium, “Molecular Biology &Innovative Therapies in Sarcomas  of Childhood and Adolescence” organized by Beat Schaefer.  This latter conference was in Putlusk, Poland, and was perhaps the best rhabdomyosarcoma and Ewing's sarcoma conference in 10-15 years.  Many collaborations amongst all attendees were created.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

2:1 matching dollars for alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma

A pharmaceutical company in the Northeast has offered 2:1 matching dollars to fund research on a kinase inhibitor they make which our lab believes will be of benefit to patients with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.  The pharmaceutical company is willing to contribute up to $84,000 to match donations from the community of up to $42,000. 
This particular drug (kinase inhibitor) has a good rationale for being important exclusively in the alveolar subtype of rhabdomyosarcoma, and it is rare that we find a partner in industry willing to advance a drug just for alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma to the clinic.  The basic science studies we would do (preclinical studies) are the prelude to clinical trial studies that the pharmaceutical company would pay for in full (usually a >$2M investment on their part).
For more information, please email Charles at .  

Friday, September 14, 2012

COG Fall 2012 Meeting

This Fall's Children's Oncology Group meeting was energized as the new leadership initiatives to incorporate more and more science into clinical trial design are evolving.  Presentations from our lab and program included:

- Targets of opportunity for rhabdomyosarcoma (soft tissue sarcoma session)
- Ad Hoc Preclinical Consortia to Support Trial Design for DIPG (brain tumor session)
- The Rally Foundation Legacy Gift Pilot Program (pathology session)

as well as research on two STS committee agents of interest.  
Expect an announcement soon on the initiative from the Rally Foundation, one of the leaders in innovative, grassroots childhood cancer research funding. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Rally Foundation takes bold step in Pediatric Cancer Research

Stay tuned for a more formal announcement of a $166,000 grant from the Rally Foundation to fund Legacy Gifts (research autopsy opportunities to find new ways to treat the otherwise untreatable 1 in 5 childhood cancers).  Jinu is grateful to be the recipient of this award which brings Legacy Gifts to a national level.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Congratulations, Lara!

We are grateful to the Damon Runyon Cancer Foundation and the St Baldrick's Foundation for their combined support of our Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) oncology fellow, Lara Davis, in pursuit of her project for Personalized Osteosarcoma Therapy in man and dog.  Lara's studies are in collaboration with a team at Oregon State University, led by Dr. Bernard Seguin.  This work was made possible by an initial pilot grant from the Thrasher Foundation as well as longstanding, ongoing support from community of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Carter family who drive the Scott Carter Foundation.  Scott is a young man for which this project was created... he lost his battle to osteosarcoma in 1993, but his vision of better treatments through research has inspired us find better ways to treat relapsed or newly diagnosed sarcomas.  

Our thanks to CureSearch!

CureSearch for Children's CancerWe are grateful to CureSearch for Children's Cancer for the $40,000 grant to pursue our proposal, COG-STS Preclinical Targeted Agent Trial Design Support.  Through this project we will provide the Children's Oncology Group Soft Tissue Sarcoma committee with real-time testing of a targeted therapeutic for rhabdomyosarcoma and non-rhabdomyosarcoma soft tissue sarcomas.     

Congratulations, Jinu!

Congratulations to Jinu whose paper addressing receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor resistance was accepted today to Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.  Co-authors of the study include Jason Glover, Jeff Tyner, Marc Loriaux from the laboratory of Brian Druker, Keller lab alumni Aoife Kilcoyne, Laura Nelon and Corrine Chua, as well as Texas collaborators Ranadip Pal, Jennifer Carew, Yongjian Ouyang and Joel Michalek, Cleveland Clinic collaborator Brian Rubin and Ireland collaborator Frank Giles.  
[ 08/21/12:  "An adaptive Src–PDGFRA–Raf axis in rhabdomyosarcoma", now online here ! ]

Monday, August 20, 2012

Our thanks to the Patrick M. Callahan Memorial Fund

We are grateful to the community that supports the Patrick M. Callahan Memorial Fund.  Your generous gift moves us closer to finding not only the causes of this disease, but the actual drugs that might be put into clinical trials to benefit children and young adults who like Patrick did, face the challenge of muscle cancer.  Thank you for allowing us this opportunity to be part of Patrick’s legacy in helping make metastatic alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma a survivable disease. 
ps.  stay tuned for exciting results of last year's contribution, which is being submitted to a scientific journal shortly.  
[right:  Patrick at a Phillies game, by permission of his mother, Joann]

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Scott Carter Foundation BIG SHOW!

It was a pleasure to attend the Scott Carter Foundation Big Show! this weekend.  The SCF raises funds to support the training of new scientists for childhood cancer research.  It's inspiring to see a community rally around an idea created by a boy, Scott, who saw a world with cures for all children affected by cancer.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Legacy Gift paper accepted to PBC!

ccurefastCongratulations to Jen and her co-authors, whose paper on legacy gifts (autopsy tissue for research) was accepted to Pediatric Blood & Cancer, the leading journal for pediatric hematology-oncology.  For more details of this project, see as well as our open science forum.   
[ "Overcoming autopsy barriers in pediatric cancer research", now online here! ]

Monday, August 13, 2012

Pediatric Cancer Nanocourse 2012

We are grateful and inspired by the 12 participants that came to Portland for the one-week Pediatric Cancer Nanocourse.  The goal was to create science‐informed liaisons between childhood cancer researchers and the community in order to empower the public to drive the cure of rare cancers. We firmly believe liaisons like these dedicated individuals, many of whom experienced unthinkable loss, are needed to speed the development of new and effective childhood cancer treatments.  We welcome the opportunity to work together with these individuals and the community in this shared mission.

[ update 1/31/2014:  see details of the 2012 Nanocourse peer-reviewed publication. ]

Friday, July 6, 2012

Welcoming Summer Student, Melissa

“I am a student at Sheldon High School, where my main concentrations are math and science, particularly chemistry. The area that most fascinates me at this time is neuroscience, because the brain is the most complex organ in the body and works in such advanced and amazing ways. I find it riveting that I could study the brain for my entire life and never completely understand how it works. A related interest is oncology. Like the brain, there is much about this field that remains unknown. I consider cancer one of life’s greatest mysteries that I believe be solved through the hard work of enthusiastic scientists in medical laboratories.  I have the enthusiasm that comes from knowing the pursuit of a cure will have a profound affect on everyone.”
"My initial interest in pediatric oncology occurred after I first read My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. When I read this book I was especially interested the character Kate who is diagnosed with leukemia at a very young age. Since then, I have developed this interest and hope to one day become a pediatric oncologist helping children in their fight against cancer. Because of this ambitious goal, I am already planning my future to make a medical career within reach. For instance, I have dedicated myself academically to the sciences and math at the college level during sophomore year. I became interested in the research being done at the OHSU Keller Laboratory when I heard Dr. Laura Davis speak at the Doernbecher Open House for Kiwanis Club. I eagerly await this summer and the research I will be doing at Keller Lab."

Melissa is a Faith Fulmer Foundation Summer intern for osteosarcoma research.  

Welcoming Summer Student, Claire

"I grew up in the Portland area attending Jesuit High School and am currently a sophomore in the Oregon State University Honors College majoring in Biochemistry & Biophysics with the hope of attending medical school. My interest in pediatric oncology began six years ago when I began volunteering and fundraising for the Children's Cancer Association, a small Portland-based nonprofit. My experience with children with cancer along with my passion for chemistry are what make me so excited to become a part of the Keller lab team and have the opportunity to learn from the other lab team members."
“I want to work at the Keller Lab this summer because I think that it will be a really great opportunity for me to get an idea of what I want to do career-wise. Also, it will give me great experience working in a real research laboratory and doing something worthwhile with my time. I have always been very interested in how cancer affects of the body and the ways that chemotherapy can cure cancer. I have also been very fascinated with all the different ways to treat cancer and all the new developments in the field, which is why I am so excited to get a chance to work in a lab where those developments are taking place. I have had a limited amount of experience working in an undergraduate Biochemistry/Biophysics lab doing an experiment with E. coli, but I have not had extensive experience in a research laboratory.  By the start of summer I will have completed a full year of Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics, and Multivariable Vector Calculus, along with a number of Baccalaureate Core classes. I am a student in the Oregon State University Honors College, a member of National Society of Collegiate Scholars, on the Dean's List at Oregon State, and I am currently receiving multiple scholarships based on my academic achievements and campus involvement. I am a quiet, considerate person who is very eager to learn and help the Keller Lab team this summer. I look forward to what is ahead of me this summer.”

Claire is a Faith Fulmer Foundation Summer intern for osteosarcoma research.  

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Welcoming Summer Student, Michelle

"I am going to be a senior at Lakeridge High school and am looking forward to an enriching, informative experience at Dr. Keller’s Lab this summer. Throughout my education, I have always loved science. In my AP Biology and Human Physiology classes during my junior year, I became enthralled in the study of the human body. I aspire to pursue a career in medicine in my future. Dr. Keller’s Lab is an ideal place to start my journey in the field of medicine and science.
I joined the OHSU Keller lab for a summer internship in order to be immersed in an intense program that will not only prepare me for a future in science but will also allow me to learn more about pediatric oncology and the nature of cancer. Working in Dr. Keller’s lab will not only help prepare me for research in college and beyond, but will also facilitate the expansion of my knowledge."

Welcoming Summer Student, MacGregor Ehlen

"I am currently a student at the University of Oregon going into my senior year and I am studying Human Physiology.  I plan on attending medical school and becoming a surgeon.  I have seen many other aspects of medicine but have not been involved in research of any kind.  I look forward to working with the team on various research projects and seeing a different side of the medical field.  Hopefully along the way I’ll pick up some knowledge that I would not have learned anywhere else.  I am a Portland native and I am excited to be working here for the Summer."

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Welcoming Summer Engineering Student, Noah Berlow

"I am a recent graduate of the Texas Tech University School of Electrical Engineering and currently a graduate student in the Electrical Engineering program under Dr. Ranadip Pal. Though trained as an Electrical Engineer, I have been involved in Biomedical research since 2009, with a focus in bridging the gap between Engineering theory and Personalized Cancer Treatment strategies. The challenge of working in a field mostly removed from my training, and the tangible benefits to the medical community and society at large, captured my attention in my undergraduate career and has kept me heavily involved in this field of research!"
“I have been collaborating with the Keller group at OHSU for more than a year now on a novel drug panel analysis, inference, and treatment strategy development system. However, in Lubbock, I am often more focused on the theory than the practical applications of the project. My biggest goal in working in the Keller group for the Summer is to push hard towards turning the theory and limited practical toolset into a full-fledged tool that oncologists would want to integrate into their cancer treatment work in hospitals and clinics worldwide. My experience in all manner of theory and applied practice in my field (algorithmics, mathematics, systems modeling, programming, software engineering, etc.) provides a fresh new skill set to tackle problems outside the scope of, but certainly related to, the research of the Keller group. However, my knowledge of biology and medicine related to cancer is primarily what I have gained from my immediate work experience. My work in the Keller lab will expand my biological knowledge and make me a more valuable member in future collaborations.”

Noah is a Faith Fulmer Foundation Summer intern for osteosarcoma research.  

Monday, June 25, 2012

Welcoming Summer Student, Olivia

"My interest in pediatric oncology began with my father, Dr. Michael Recht, who is an incredibly passionate pediatric oncologist at Oregon Health Science University. I have spent all my life listening to him talk about these various forms of cancers and have been intrigued by the science behind them. I hope to further my understanding of cancer throughout my undergraduate years at Smith College, where I am majoring in biology. I aspire to work in the medical field someday, although not yet sure where my career is taking me."
"I want to work in the OHSU Keller Lab for the summer because I am incredibly interested in the science behind cancer and tumors and want to learn about them as much as I can before returning to school in the fall. This project has a special interest for me because my dog, Sy, is one of the canine osteosarcoma subjects being researched. It will be very interesting to work in in close proximity to the research knowing my dog may someday benefit from the outcomes. Although my knowledge in the field of medical research is still expanding, I am a determined and willing student eager to learn as fast as someone will teach me. I have learned a few lab techniques, such as: microscopy, centrifugation and running gels for DNA analysis that will contribute to furthering the research. I also bring a positive attitude, I am very positive person and can contribute a lot to the team."

Olivia is a Faith Fulmer Foundation Summer intern for osteosarcoma research.  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Talk in Lausanne

Our thanks to Dr. Ivan Stamenkovic for the opportunity to present our lab's rhabdomyosarcoma cell of origin studies at the Institut Universitaire de Pathologie, Le Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland.  Dr. Stamenkovic's own interest is soft tissue sarcomas, as highlighted by his own laboratory's Cancer Cell paper this week.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Patient & Family Photo Wall is Here!

To all those who graciously provided photos of their families whose lives have been touched by cancer, we are grateful.  The "Photo Wall" is now up. We received more than 300 photos from more than 70 families.  We will rotate pictures to include ones not shown here.  We also are working to see if 3-4 large digital signs can be made available, so that pictures are shown in a "digital picture frame" presentation format.

The strength of spirit, and experiences of these children with cancer, their siblings, parents and other family members motivate our team to strive for better breakthroughs and more effective therapies.  We appreciate all those families who are the inspirational "part of our team".     

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Our thanks to the Ethan Jostad Foundation

I am grateful to Chris, Kim and the community of Eagle Point for their support of our alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma research.  Yesterday's golf tournament had 160 attendees... we'll make sure your commitment to us is matched by tangible results.  Charles

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

(reposted from RH-KIDS) Tissue Donation - Sarcoma Foundation of America Announces Partnership with NDRI

(all content below is from Matthew Alsante, SFA, although this is indeed a great initiative!)
The Sarcoma Foundation of America (SFA) is pleased to announce a new partnership with The National Disease Research Interchange (NDRI), a non-profit organization based in Philadelphia, PA. The NDRI coordinates the collection and dissemination of human cells, tissues and organs to researchers and scientists. The SFA has partnered with NDRI to provide sarcoma patients with the opportunity to donate tissues, and have those tissues distributed to scientists who are studying sarcoma. Sarcoma patients will be able to donate samples of all forms of sarcoma obtained from biopsy procedures or other medically necessary surgical procedures. NDRI coordinators will discuss donation opportunities, either from a surgical procedure or post mortem (after death, like in donation for transplant), to aide sarcoma patients and their families in making the appropriate donation decision.
Patients interested in organ and tissue donation for sarcoma research can learn more about registering with NDRI as a donor by contacting a NDRI coordinator today, by calling 1-800-222-NDRI (6374). NDRI Coordinators are available to speak with patients 24 hours per day.
You can learn more about the Sarcoma Foundation of America at For more information about NDRI, please visit

Matthew Alsante
Executive Director
Sarcoma Foundation of America
P: 301-253-8687
F: 301-253-8690
Keep Fighting the Good Fight!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Our thanks to the Biopathology Center!

We are grateful to the Biopathology Center, which is also the pediatric division of the Cooperative Human Tissue Network (CHTN), for the many ways in which they facilitate our research on Childhood Muscle Cancer (rhabdomyosarcoma) and Childhood Brain Tumors.  With high quality but ‘rare’ samples provided by the Biopathology Center, we have been able to publish dozens of studies.  The unique aspect of many tissues at the Biopathology Center is that samples can be cross-correlated to treatment outcome via the Biopathology Center’s other role as the Children’s Oncology Group Biorepository.  Simply put, we can tell if a potential drug target of interest is linked to survival of patients and we can prioritize our research accordingly.
The Biopathology Center is always also on the cutting edge of advances, including rapid yet user-friendly sharing of high resolution slides in an electronic scanned format and specialized, annotated tissue microarrays for specific diseases.  For autopsy-derived tissue, which may be the most important kind of tissue for scientists to study (see our peer-reviewed paper), the Biopathology Center has been a key strategic partner.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Jen presents Autopsy Barrier study results at APOSW

This year’s Association of Pediatric Oncology Social Workers topic was Exploring Sustainability: Promoting Pediatric Oncology Social Work in the Changing Healthcare Environment
12 posters were selected for the conference – during the two hours poster presentation many people stopped by and were impressed with our work and the idea of a Legacy Gift, saying that they have many patients whose family could benefit from leaving such a gift. Attendees had a lot of great questions and many asked for further information or planned to check our website for more information on guidelines/how to’s and our handouts. Melissa Hill of the Northwest Sarcoma Foundation joined in the poster presentation of our joint work. 

Other topics of discussion/workshops were: 
Sustaining Ourselves: Healing Ourselves While Healing Others
The CARES Program:  Utilizing the Community to Increase Sustainability of Patients and Families
Social Skill Training For Adolescent and Young Adult Brain Tumor Survivors
Establishing Skill Sets:  Staying the Course When Faced With Pediatric End of Life Challenges
our thanks as always to Nancy Goodman, the inspiration for study and efforts!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Our thanks to the Faith Fulmer Foundation

We are grateful to JoLayne, Lou and the Medford community supporting the Faith Fulmer Foundation for their advocacy of our personalized therapy clinical trial project for dogs with osteosarcoma.  It is an honor to be part of Faith's rememberance.  

Friday, April 27, 2012

We are so proud of Lance

Congratulations to Lance Burrell, an undergraduate member of our rhabdomyosarcoma research team (back in the Capecchi lab days) who has graduated from Weber State University with a Master of Science in Radiological Sciences, Emphasis in Cardiology.  Lance has always been dedicated to patient care, and to have completed graduate school while working is an impressive accomplishment for Lance and his whole family.

Friday, April 20, 2012

MGH & Stanford

My thanks to hosts David Langenau at Massachusetts General Hospital and Lynn Million & Kristen Ganjoo at Stanford University, respectively, for the opportunities to present our sarcoma research to their Cancer Centers. The MGH talk highlighted exciting work by Jinu and Ken in our lab, whereas the Stanford talk highlighted separate work by Jinu and Lara.  It was a busy week of coast-to-coast travel, but well worth the scientific interactions.  The sarcoma research at each institution is superb.  

Friday, April 6, 2012

Fueling Osteosarcoma Research

Our sincere thanks to the Trey Foote Foundation and the graduating class of the International Air & Hospitality Academy in Vancouver, WA, who have raised funds for a research microscope.  This microscope will be used to study patient-derived primary tumor cell cultures from Vancouver-Portland area children, and dogs, with osteosarcoma.  The ultimate goal of this research is individualized, molecularly-targeted therapy for patients with osteosarcoma.

Trey's remarkable spirit is described here and can be seen tonight at 6:30pm PST on Portland tv station KATU.

[ Watch the KATU video here. ]

Monday, April 2, 2012


The Children's Oncology Group meeting was March 27 - 30 in Minneapolis.  Presentations were given by Jinu on new targeted therapies for undifferentiated sarcomas, and an update of the DIPG preclinical consortium was given by Charles.  
The AACR meeting is now in progress, and beginning yesterday with the session on Modeling Pediatric Malignancy where Charles presented, "integrative biology of rhabdomysarcoma
using genetic murine models" and attended the Pediatric Preclinical Testing Program working meeting.  The Pediatric Cancer Town Hall meeting is tonight.  
A key new presentation from the Raabe lab is tomorrow, "High-level activation of the Notch pathway in diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma" by Hutt et al (A Johns Hopkins - NCI consortium).  Also presented by Dr. Ian Pollack are the promising early results of a DIPG vaccine trial (caveats not withstanding).  

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

(guest entry) Our Hope: “No Curative Measures” Ends Here

by Nettie Boivin
The Team Julian Foundation
I had never in my life heard the term “glioma” until this monster swept into our lives and threatened the life of our son. Julian was a healthy, handsome and fun-loving 4-year-old with huge eyes and an even bigger imagination. It was Nov. 29, 2010, that our beautiful boy was, seemingly overnight and out of nowhere, diagnosed with an inoperable brain stem glioma. Gripped by fear but determined to beat the odds, we researched the best doctors in the country and brought him under the care of top pediatric oncologists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.
Our diagnosis happened to be the deadliest of all brain tumors with “no known cause or cure.” It was unimaginable and impossible to process that we’d most likely lose our first-born within 18 months. Throughout Julian’s treatment, doctors used terms like “palliative measures” and “grim prognosis.” With every blow, we kept waiting for that next line - some promising shred of a breakthrough that may halt the heartbreak to come.  But much to our dismay, we discovered that little research was currently underway for pediatric gliomas and cures were still years away.
In only 7 intense months, filled with beautiful and bittersweet moments,  the incurable disease proved too much. We lost our sweet boy, Julian Bradley Boivin, on July 3, 2011, just three weeks after his 5th birthday.
Last March while at St. Jude, Julian met a little girl who also had a DIPG, and together they forged a friendship as two 4-year-olds discussing bravery techniques before daily radiation treatments. This girl's mother and I desperately hoped and prayed these two would be exceptions to this dreaded diagnosis. Now, only months after having to say goodbye to both children, we are committed to making sure our two angels help turn the tide on this incurable disease.
An autopsy to resect and study Julian’s tumor wasn't possible when he died over the 4th of July holiday weekend. However the little girl's doctors were able to remove her entire tumor after she passed on in late 2011. Through The Team Julian Foundation’s support of CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, we were told about an important opportunity to partner with Dr. Keller’s Lab and the DIPG Consortium to find chemo agents that would finally combat this sly disease. So, between funding through Julian's foundation and the donation of this little girl's tumor sample, we believe this is Julian’s and the little girl's way of having a big impact on a world they were a part of for such a short but wonderful time.
By supporting the DIPG Consortium, we hope to see a day very soon when other children and their families facing this disease won’t ever have to hear the words “no curative measures” again.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

VIP Visitor !

We had a VIP visitor on Friday, Josh.  Josh's life has by chance been touched by Ewing's sarcoma and he is now a survivor.  Josh told his story in his own words for our StoryCorp project with the Northwest Sarcoma Foundation:  to hear his interview, or his mother April's perspective via her interview, click here.  

We appreciate patients stopping by the lab, and the accountability that this brings.  Josh's Dad gives the universal perspective, "Every parent around the world wants one simple thing…to see their kids grow up."  It's our intention to find those new treatments that Give Back Childhood.
[ update 07/03/2012:  See Josh's martial arts talent and broader story here. ] 
[ For the StoryCorps interviews with Josh and his mom, go here. ]

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Scientific Writer needed

We are looking for a volunteer technical writer from the community to co-author a scientific paper on childhood cancer research from results already compiled.  This endeavor is an experiments of sorts to see whether we can begin to blend the community with academics to create a seamless and efficient way of moving towards new treatments for childhood cancers.  If you have time and interest, please contact Charles at keller (at)   with thanks, the Keller Lab team.  

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Our thanks to the Ethan Jostad Foundation

We are grateful to partner with the Ethan Jostad Foundation for Childhood Cancer in the search for treatments of alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.  This foundation has both patient/family assistance and research as the center of their mission.  We are thankful for the gift of $11,400 that supports the preclinical studies of a specific new agent potentially capable of stopping tumor cell spreading (metastasis).  These studies will specifically employ our genetically-engineered mouse model of alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.  We are honored to be part of Ethan's rememberance.     
[ pictured:  Guangheng Li and Charles Keller (left) with Chris and Kim Jostad (right) ]  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Graphics Volunteer Needed

We are hoping to work with a volunteer in the community with graphic arts/communication experience.  The project is about 6 weeks long and may take 8-12 hours a week.  If you have time and interest, please contact Charles at keller (at)   with thanks, the Keller Lab team

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Congratulations, Ken and Anu!

Congratulations to authors Ken and Anu whose manuscript describing the role of Protein Kinase C iota in rhabdomyosarcoma was accepted today to the journal, Oncogene.  Co-authors include lab alumni Laura and Sheila, UTHSCSA biostatistics collaborators Joel Michalek and Lee Ann Zarzabal, Mayo PKC biology collaborators Capella Weems and Alan Fields, and long-time sarcoma pathologist collaborator Brian Rubin at Cleveland Clinic.  This work was supported by by NIH/NCI grant 1R01CA133229-04 and -05 awarded to the Keller lab and NIH/NCI grant 4R01CA081436-13 and the V Foundation for Cancer Research awarded to Dr. Fields.  
For a full list of KellerLab & collaborator publications in the last year and beyond, see .
[ 2/22/2012:  Ken's article, Protein kinase C iota as a therapeutic target in alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, is now online here.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Congratulations, Anu!

(01/13/12):  Article entitled, "(18) F-FDG microPET imaging detects early transient response to an IGF1R inhibitor in genetically engineered rhabdomyosarcoma models" is now online here as PMID 22238194.  

(12/17/11)  Many congratulations to lab alumni, Anu, on her study from our lab of PET scan monitoring of targeted therapy responses in alveolar & embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, which has been accepted for publication in Pediatric Blood & Cancer.  Co-authors include current lab member Jinu, lab alumni Laura & Suresh, and collaborators Lee Ann Zarzabel & Joel Michalek (UTHSCSA), Stan McHardy (SWRI), Doug Hawkins (Seattle Children's Hospital) and Suman Malempati (OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital).