“Laboratory research is one of the best tools we have to help improve the lives of children with cancer. Support from families who’ve lost someone and groups like the Christina Renna Foundation (CRF) has been crucial in the fight against this horrible disease.” That’s Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) Professor Christopher Vakoc speaking about the importance of grassroots donations in funding basic biology.
The CRF has awarded Vakoc its 2024 Research Award for his leadership of CSHL’s Sarcoma Research Project. The award was announced at the 17th annual CRF Angel’s Wish Gala on January 27. This year’s event raised $45,000 to support CSHL’s ongoing research of rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS). RMS is an often fatal pediatric cancer that affects muscle, bone, and connective tissue.
In 2023, Vakoc’s lab made two promising breakthroughs in sarcoma research. Most recently, they found a way to transform RMS tumor cells into healthy muscle cells. This discovery built upon the finding of a key protein that can disrupt Ewing sarcoma growth.
Since 2007, the CRF has raised over $500,000 for sarcoma research at CSHL. With this support, the Vakoc lab has uncovered several potential therapeutic targets for RMS and other forms of pediatric cancer.