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UPMC Children’s Sarcoma Researcher Awarded New K08 Grant

April 11, 2021

Kelly Bailey, MD, PhDKelly M. Bailey, MD, PhD, a physician-scientist in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, was awarded a National Institutes of Health K08 young investigators award in April to further her basic science research of Ewing sarcoma.

While much is unknown about Ewing sarcoma, there is a firm understanding that: 1) Great levels of heterogeneity exist within the tumor and within the individual cells of the tumor; 2) very little is presently understood about the microenvironment of these tumors and how its various factors influence tumor growth, mechanisms of metastasis, and suppression or evasion of the immune response by the tumor; 3) Recurrent or refractory cases of Ewing sarcoma are challenging to treat successfully and almost always fatal. Broadly speaking, Dr. Bailey’s Ewing sarcoma research is devoted to furthering a better understanding of these aspects of Ewing sarcoma, how and why there is so much cellular variability in these tumors, and the methods by which therapies can be improved that target the pathways that make some cells more responsive to therapy and others less so.

Dr. Bailey’s new K08 award will further these lines of her research by allowing her to expand her technical expertise in tumor immunology and bioinformatic analyses of Ewing sarcoma. The research projects Dr. Bailey will carry out will be focused on two crucial yet poorly understood aspects of Ewing sarcoma: DNA damage repair and tumor immune response. Dr. Bailey’s research will test the ability of DNA damage to activate Ewing tumor cell immunoregulatory pathways.

More About Dr. Bailey

Kelly M. Bailey, MD, is an assistant professor of pediatrics in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr. Bailey is a physician-scientist in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. She specializes in the study of pediatric bone sarcomas, with a specific emphasis on the immune response in pediatric sarcomas, the tumor microenvironment of Ewing sarcoma, and the role of DNA damage in the immunogenicity of Ewing sarcoma. Dr. Bailey earned her MD/PhD degrees from West Virginia University, followed by residency and fellowship in pediatric hematology/ oncology at the University of Michigan. Other recent notable accomplishments of Dr. Bailey’s is a 2020-2022 Hyundai Hope on Wheels Young Investigator Award, and an Alex’s Lemonade Stand Young Investigator Grant in 2016 for a project on the micro-environmental regulators of Ewing sarcoma metastasis. Dr. Bailey also is one of 10 investigators that comprise the New Agents for Ewing Sarcoma Task Force of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG).

Recent Select Ewing Sarcoma Publications From Dr. Bailey

Hawkins AG, Julian CM, Konzen S, Treichel S, Lawlor ER, Bailey KM. Microenvironmental Factors Drive Tenascin C and Src Cooperation to Promote Invadopodia Formation in Ewing Sarcoma.
Neoplasia. 2019 Oct; 21(10): 1063-1072.

McAuley JR, Bailey KM, Ekambaram P, Klei LR, Kang H, Hu D, Freeman TJ, Concel VJ, Hubel NE, Lee JL, Klei HB, Cheng J, Sekar P, Bridwell RE, Covic L, Lucas PC, McAllister-Lucas LM. MALT1 is a critical mediator of PAR1-driven NF-κB activation and metastasis in multiple tumor types. Oncogene. 2019 Dec; 38(49): 7384-7398.

Bailey KM, Julian CM, Klinghoffer AN, Bernard H, Lucas PC, McAllister-Lucas LM. EWS-FLI1 low Ewing sarcoma cells demonstrate decreased susceptibility to T-cell-mediated tumor cell apoptosis. Oncotarget. 2019 May 21; 10(36): 3385-3399. 

Venier RE, Maurer LM, Kessler EM, Ranganathan S, McGough RL, Weiss KR, Malek MM, Meade J, Tersak JM, Bailey KM. A germline BARD1 mutation in a patient with Ewing Sarcoma: Implications for familial testing and counseling. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2019 Sep; 66(9): e27824. 

Bailey K, Cost C, Davis I, Glade-Bender J, Grohar P, Houghton P, Isakoff M, Stewart E, Laack N, Yustein J, Reed D, Janeway K, Gorlick R, Lessnick S, DuBois S, Hingorani P. Emerging novel agents for patients with advanced Ewing sarcoma: a report from the Children's Oncology Group (COG) New Agents for Ewing Sarcoma Task Force. F1000Res. 2019 Apr 15;8:F1000 Faculty Rev-493.