Grants, Research News, and Awards from the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

December 21, 2018

Faculty Accomplishments and Awards

Cheryl Hillery, MD, was selected to join the editorial board of the journal Blood Advances.

A. Kim Ritchey, MD, was selected for the honorary "Alan Coopersmith Visiting Professorship" at Johns Hopkins University for the 2018 academic year.

New Grants and Research Funding

Linda McAllister-Lucas, MD, PhD, received a $2.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for work on "New Mechanisms for Modulating the MALT1 Oncoprotein.” While there have been significant advances in our understanding of lymphoma biology and ability to provide curative therapy, many patients with lymphoma continue to suffer poor outcomes making novel approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of lymphoma an urgent need. 

MALT1 plays a critical role in the development of certain B-cell lymphomas. Dr. McAllister-Lucas’s new study is designed to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that regulate MALT1 activity and evaluate how dysregulation of MALT1 can lead to the development of lymphoma. 

This new grant will investigate the innovative hypothesis that specific proteins are capable of controlling MALT1 function, such that their loss in some subtypes of B-cell lymphoma may contribute to aberrant MALT1 oncogenic activity.  These studies will advance the knowledge of the molecular mechanisms that underlie the pathogenesis of specific subtypes of lymphoma, and as such, will facilitate the movement of basic laboratory discoveries to clinical application in the development of new treatment strategies.

Ramasubramanian V. Kalpatthi, MD, FAAP, received two new pilot grants for clinical research projects. The first is an investigation on "Novel Biomarker of Neurocognitive Function in Children and Adults With Sickle Cell Disease." The second grant will examine "Contrast Enhanced Ultrasonography Study of Cerebral Blood Flow Velocity in Sickle Cell Disease."

Recent Speaking Engagement and Presentations

Edward Prochownik, MD, PhD, was an invited speaker at an NIH workshop titled "Frontiers in Targeting Myc."

Scott Maurer, MD, gave a platform presentation at the Religion and Medicine Annual Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Maurer's presentation was titled "Religion, Spirituality and Medicine: Impact of an Educational Intervention for Medical Students and Physicians.

Erika Friehling, MD, led the "Leadership Skills" workshop at the Association of Pediatric Program Directors meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Andrew Bukowinski, MD, was invited to present the ADVL1512 study at the CTEP Early Drug Development Conference in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Bukowinski also was selected as the national study chair for the COG phase 1 trial “ADVL1513: A Phase I/II Trial of Entinostat on Oral Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor in Pediatric Patients With Recurrent or Refractory Solid Tumors Including CNS Tumors and Lymphoma.”

New Publications from Division Faculty

McAuley JR, Freeman TJ, Ekambaram P, Lucas PC, McAllister-Lucas LM. CARMA3 Is a Critical Mediator of G Protein-Coupled Receptor and Receptor Tyrosine Kinase-Driven Solid Tumor Pathogenesis. Front Immunol. 2018; 9: 19887. Epub ahead of print.

DeRenzo C, Lam C, Rodriguez-Galindo C, Rapkin L, Gottchalk S, Venkatramani R. Salvage Regimens for Pediatric Patients With Relapsed Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2019 Jan; 66(1): e27469.

Nolfi-Donegan D, Konar M, Vianzon V, MacNeil J, Cooper J, Lurie P, Sedivy J, Wang X, Granoff DM, McNamara L. Fatal Nongroupable Neisseria meningitidis Disease in Vaccinated Patient Receiving Eculizumab. Emerg Infect Dis. 2018 Aug; 24(8). Epub ahead of print.

Nugent BD, Bender CM, Sereika SM, Tersak JM, Rosenzweig M. Cognitive and Occupational Function in Survivors of Adolescent Cancer. J Adolesc Young Adult Oncol. 2018; 7(1): 79-87.

Cashell J, Smink GM, Helm K, Xavier F. Kaposiform Hemangioendothelioma With Kasabach-Merritt Phenomenon in an Infant: Successful Treatment With Prednisone, Vincristine, and Addition of Sirolimus. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2018 Dec; 65(12): e27305.

Dolezal JM, Dash AP, Prochownik EV.  Diagnostic and Prognostic Implications of Ribosomal Protein Transcript Expression Patterns in Human Cancers. BMC Cancer. 2018 Mar 12; 18(1) :275. 

Wang H, Dolezal JM, Kulkarni S, Lu J, Mandel J, Alencastro F, Duncan AW, Prochownik EV Myc and ChREBP Cooperatively Regulate Normal and Neoplastic Hepatocyte Proliferation. J Biol. Chem. 2018; 293: 14740-14757.  

Gu L, Zhu Y, Lin X, Li Y, Cui K, Prochownik EV, Li Y.  Amplification of Glyceronephosphate O-Acyltransferase and Recruitment of USP30 Stabilize DRP1 to Promote Hepatocarcinogenesis. Cancer Res. 2018; 78: 5808-5819.

Goetzman ES, Prochownik EV.  The Role For Myc in Coordinating Glycolysis, Oxidative  Phosphorylation, Glutaminolysis, and Fatty Acid Metabolism in Normal and Neoplastic Tissues. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2018 Apr 12; 9: 129.

Meenan C, Kelly J, Wang L, Ritchey A, Maurer S.  Obesity in Pediatric Patients With Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Increases the Risk of Adverse Events During Pre-Maintenance Chemotherapy. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2018. e27515.

Trauernicht E, Bharil S, Panko L, Friehling E. Fever, Neck Pain, and Back Pain in a 16-year-old Boy. Pediatrics in Review.2018; 39(9): 468-469.

Stanley K, Friehling E, Ranganathan S, Mazariegos G, McAllister-Lucas L, Sindhi R. Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disease (PTLD) in Pediatric Intestinal Transplant Recipients. Pediatric Transplantation. 2018; 22(5): e13211. 

Epperly R, Ozolek J, Soltys K, Cohen D, Goyal R, Friehling E. Treatment of Pediatric Plasma Cell Myeloma Type Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorder with Modern Risk-Directed Therapy. Pediatric Blood & Cancer. 2018; 65(10): e27283.

Stanley K, Friehling E, Davis A, Ranganathan S. SDH-Deficient GIST with SDHC Germline Mutation and Bilateral Renal and Neck Cysts. Pediatric and Developmental Pathology. 2018; Accepted, in press.

Stanley K, Cooper J.  Hormone Therapy and Venous Thromboembolism in a Transgender Adolescent.  J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2018 Jan; 40(1): e38-e40.

McCormick MC, Siripong N, Cooper JD.  Desmopressin Stimulation Testing: Response to Intravenous and Intranasal Forms. Haemophilia.  2018 Mar 26; ePub ahead of print. 

Nolfi-Donegan D, Konar M, Vianzon V, MacNeil J, Cooper JD, Lurie P, Sedivy J, Wang X, Granoff DM, McNamara L. Fatal Nongroupable Neisseria Meningitidis Disease in Vaccinated Patient Receiving Eculizumab. Emerg Infect Dis. 2018 Aug; 24(8): 1561-1564.

Close A, Sequeira G, Alessi L, Montano G, McCormick MC, Cooper JD, Epperly R, Zuckerbruan N. Improving the Evaluation and Management of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding in Adolescent Females Presenting to Emergency Care. J Adolescent Gynecology. Accepted for publication.

Pinto EM, Hamideh D, Bahrami A, Orr BA, Lin T, Pounds S, Zambetti GP, Pappo AS, Gajjar A, Agnihotri S, Broniscer A. Malignant Rhabdoid Tumors Originating Within and Outside the Central Nervous System are Clinically and Molecularly Heterogeneous. Acta Neuropathol. 2018; 136: 315-326.

Broniscer A, Jia S, Mandrell B, Hamideh D, Huang J, Onar-Thomas A, Gajjar A, Raimondi SC, Tatevossian RG, Stewart CF. Phase 1 Trial, Pharmacokinetics, and Pharmacodynamics of Dasatinib Combined With Crizotinib in Children With Recurrent or Progressive High-grade and Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2017; Epub ahead of print.

Upadhyaya SA, R McGee, Wilky B, Broniscer A. Malignant Progression of a Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor in the Setting of Rhabdoid Tumor Predisposition Syndrome. Pediatr Blood Cancer. Epub ahead of print. DOI: 10.1002/pbc.27030.