CureSearch for Children’s Cancer Announces Young Investigator Award Recipients

For Immediate Release
Tessa Gatz
(240) 235-2204 |


Young Investigator Recipients Granted $450,000 to Deliver the Next Generation of Cancer Treatments for Pediatric Cancer

BETHESDA, MD – July 17, 2018 – CureSearch is proud to announce the 2018 Young Investigator Award recipients, Dr. Loretta Li of the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and Dr. Avery Posey of the University of Pennsylvania. The CureSearch Young Investigator program combats the loss of promising scientists from the field by providing significant financial support to investigators early in their research career.

“In the last 20 years, only four cancer treatments have been developed and approved specifically for the children who need it most,” said Kay Koehler, CureSearch CEO. “Through the Young Investigator program, we fund the most promising early-stage research from the brightest minds in the field of pediatric cancer. Our goal is to establish a sustainable model for treatments from the outset of the research process.”

Li’s research will identify alternatives to a compound called CHZ868, which shows great promise in mouse models for B-Cell ALL. Currently this compound cannot be tested on humans; Li will develop alternatives for use in human clinical studies. She will test a panel of novel type II JAK2 inhibitors and secondly a panel of compounds that selectively degrade JAK2 within cancer cells (JAK2 degraders) in B-Cell ALL cells and animal models.

“With the genomic testing we have available to us today, we can now better understand the drivers or dependencies of a particular malignancy. We can use this knowledge to develop more targeted therapies against these alterations,” said Li. “CureSearch is leading the charge in taking the most promising novel therapies from the lab and helping to bring these to the bedside of our pediatric cancer patients.”

Posey is developing a novel CAR-T cell therapy that selectively targets an antigen found only in neuroblastoma called PolySia. He will design and develop a PolySia CAR-T for use in neuroblastoma patients. Posey will then test the anti-tumor effects and safety of the PolySia CAR-T therapy in mouse models with neuroblastoma.

“New avenues of investigation will bring next-generation cancer treatments to children diagnosed with cancer. This holds the potential benefit of improving the quality of life for these children,” said Posey. “We can expect to see bench research translate into clinical trials and hopefully clinical success. The ultimate goal is to generate a therapy that can end childhood cancers.”

CureSearch’s research strategy is designed to quickly advance the strongest children’s cancer research and accelerate real treatments to the marketplace for children. For more information on CureSearch’s research programs or to learn about progress to date, visit or follow along on Facebook or Twitter for the latest CureSearch news and updates.


About CureSearch for Children’s Cancer

CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, a national nonprofit organization based in Bethesda, Md., works to end childhood cancer by driving targeted and innovative research with measurable results in an accelerated time frame. CureSearch focuses on advancing the strongest research out of the laboratory and into clinical trials and development, where better, less-toxic treatments can quickly help children.

*Correction: The press release previously stated that Dr. Avery Posey is an employee of Children’s Hospital Philadelphia, that has been corrected to the University of Pennsylvania.


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