If we can contribute to scientific knowledge and help patients, then we are closer to our goals as physicians and scientists in this field.Bonnie Lau, MD, PhD
Bonnie Lau, MD, PhD, pediatric hematologist/oncologist at Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) and assistant professor of Pediatrics, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth has received a 2021 Hyundai Hope on Wheels Young Investigator Award. The award comes with a two-year, $200,000 grant in support of her study of a novel approach to treating childhood leukemia.
In 2021, Hyundai Hope On Wheels, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization supported by Hyundai Motor America, awarded 64 childhood cancer research and programmatic grants totaling $13 million. The Hyundai Young Investigator Award provides funding for research likely to have significant impact on improving the understanding of the biology of childhood cancer. Lau’s project examines damage to DNA in tumor cells and how certain medications can increase this damage so that immunotherapy, which uses a child’s own immune system to kill tumor cells, is more effective.
“I am grateful to Hyundai Hope on Wheels for dedicating funding for childhood cancer research, which is often underfunded,” says Lau. “This award will help novel therapies get closer to being available to children with high-risk leukemia. If we can contribute to scientific knowledge and help patients, then we are closer to our goals as physicians and scientists in this field.”
For children, certain high-risk types of leukemia come with a poor prognosis. According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for these high risk leukemias can range from 50% to 80%. These types of leukemia are currently difficult to get into remission and novel therapies, such as this offer hope. Lau’s research will pave the way for clinical trials and ultimately benefit children by offering effective, targeted options for therapy that would put their disease into remission.