Connecticut Children’s Awarded
$2 Million Grant from
National Institutes of Health

News Release - August 2012

HARTFORD, Conn. - Connecticut Children's Medical Center has been awarded a $2 million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health - National Cancer Institute for a five-year study, "Sphingosine-1- Phosphate Pathway Based Therapy for Neuroblastoma." The study, led by Connecticut Children's Executive Vice President and Surgeon-in-Chief, Fernando Ferrer, MD, will investigate a novel approach to treating neuroblastoma, a deadly childhood tumor, by targeting a lipid signaling pathway essential to tumor growth.

"Our preliminary data suggests that targeting this pathway may be as effective as some of our best drugs and, when used in combination, has a significant greater ability to kill tumor cells," explained Dr. Ferrer.

Dr. Ferrer has been investigating S1P signaling, which promotes the development of solid tumors, and has hypothesized about how the signaling may lead to the growth of tumors. He and his team have been testing how to stop tumor development; their efforts may offer a promising approach to treating Neuroblastoma tumors in the future.

"This is a significant achievement for Dr. Ferrer and Connecticut Children's," said Martin J. Gavin, President and CEO of Connecticut Children's Medical Center. "This award recognizes both the importance of Dr. Ferrer's work among the scientific community and its potential to make a meaningful difference for children and families."

Neuroblastoma is a cancerous tumor that develops from nerve tissue, typically occurring in infants and children. Extremely difficult to treat, in most patients Neuroblastoma has already spread when first diagnosed. It is most commonly identified in children before age five, and occurs in approximately one out of 100,000 children.

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