Gregory Friedman, M.D., assistant professor in the UAB Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, has been awarded a St. Baldrick’s Foundation Scholar grant of $330,000 for a period of three years to conduct research on medulloblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor found in children. Friedman sees patients in The Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama.
Medulloblastomas affect children 10 times more frequently than adults; they account for 15 to 20 percent of all pediatric brain tumors. Friedman, an associate scientist at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, studies the ability of clinically ready viruses — such as the genetically altered herpes simplex virus — to kill brain tumor-initiating cells in difficult-to-treat medulloblastomas. Current treatments for this specific disease are harmful to the developing brain, and Friedman’s research team hopes to provide the foundation for future pediatric clinical trials, using this cutting-edge therapy to benefit children with these deadly cancers.
“This grant is essential because it enables me to continue to work on something I am passionate about: developing novel, targeted, less-toxic therapies for children with cancers that hopefully will improve their outcomes and quality of life,” says Friedman.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives. The group grants funds to some of the most brilliant childhood cancer research experts in the world and to younger professionals who will be the experts of tomorrow.