Two University of Florida neuroscientists have received grants from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants. The goal of the foundation is to support physician-scientists looking for new and better cures for childhood cancer.
Loic Deleyrolle, Ph.D., a research assistant professor in the UF College of Medicine’s department of neurosurgery, was awarded a $100,000 St. Baldrick’s research grant in July for a year-long research project that has the goal of enhancing the T cell’s ability to compete for glucose to achieve greater anti-tumor immunity.
“This project has tremendous clinical potential because it will validate immunometabolism as a new critical target to improve immunotherapy not only to treat brain cancers, but also any other cancers with high rate of glycolysis,” said Deleyrolle. “Impacting the life of cancer patients through our discoveries is our highest priority and receiving this kind of support from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation is paramount in achieving this goal.”
Elias Sayour, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of neurosurgery and pediatrics in the UF College of Medicine’s department of pediatrics, was awarded a St. Baldrick’s scholar grant, a multi-year award for early career professionals pursuing exciting research. Sayour was first awarded the $75,000 grant in 2016 and, based on progress to date, he was awarded an extension in 2019 to fund an additional year.
Sayour is researching methods to harness the immune system to destroy brain tumors though the use of nanoparticle vaccines — therefore avoiding the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy. His current project focuses on identifying possible immune targets for nanoparticles in medulloblastoma.
“I chose a career in pediatric oncology because I want to make a difference in the lives of my patients,” Sayour said. “As a physician-scientist, I want to create a better tomorrow with novel, less toxic therapies for all children affected by the scourge of cancer.”
Deleyrolle and Sayour are both members of the University of Florida Health Cancer Center.