Hutch News Stories

Johnnie Orozco of Galloway lab receives Nickens scholarship

Dr. Scott Tykodi, senior fellow in the Clinical Research Division, is the recipient of a two-year, $50,000 grant from the National Blood Foundation (NBF). The grant program supports new investigators in the fields of blood banking, transfusion medicine and tissue transplantation. Proposals are evaluated on the basis of their scientific merit, relevance to and impact on transfusion medicine and science, focus and appropriateness to the scope of funding and likelihood of yielding meaningful data.

Tykodi, working with Dr. Stan Riddell, Dr. Hootie Warren and colleagues, will use the funding to refine the use of stem-cell transplantation to treat metastatic renal-cell carcinoma, an advanced form of kidney cancer. Preliminary work has shown that donor immune-system cells called T cells can attack the cancer, causing the tumor to shrink through what is known as a graft-vs.-tumor (GVT) effect. A side effect of the treatment is graft-vs.-host disease (GVHD), which occurs when donor T cells attack normal tissue.

Tykodi plans to identify the unique target proteins on the tumor cells (and not present on normal cells) that enable the donor-T cells to recognize the cancer. Once found, the target proteins may be used to augment the GVT response after stem-cell transplantation without causing GVHD.

The National Blood Foundation, established in 1983, is dedicated to advancing transfusion medicine and blood banking by funding scientific research that benefits patients and donors. Funds are raised annually from corporations, blood centers, foundations and individuals by the NBF for the National Blood Foundation Research and Education Trust Fund and the NBF.

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