Benjamin Mizukawa, MD , a researcher in the Division of Experimental Hematology and Cancer Biology , has received a three-year, $330,000 St. Baldrick’s Scholar award to support his work focused on acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

“We are studying how leukemia stem cells maintain self-renewal, or the ability to give rise to new leukemia cells,” Mizukawa says. “By understanding the signals needed for self-renewal, we hope to identify new drugs to eliminate the leukemia stem cell and prevent relapsed disease.”

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a charity dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research, also awarded an extended consortium grant of $405,000 to support the ongoing work of a five-center group of institutions studying pleuropulmonary blastoma (PPB), a rare lung cancer of young children. Cincinnati Children’s administers the grant.

Inherited mutations in the DICER1 gene can predispose children to developing PPB as well as other childhood tumors in the muscle, brain, ovary and kidneys. The consortium’s laboratory research is complimented by the first-ever prospective clinical study of PPB therapy. The goal is to identify key signals responsible for PPB tumor development and define optimal treatment.

“We aim to understand why and how some kids develop tumors and others do not.  We also are focused on determining why kids with the same tumor respond differently to treatment,” says  Kathryn Wikenheiser-Brokamp, MD, PhD, lead physician-scientist at Cincinnati Children's. “Our goal is to then use what we learn to improve the lives of each child with cancer by giving them the best treatment possible.”

For more information about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, call 1-888-899-BALD or visit