Mario Otto, MD, PhD, Awarded Carbone Cancer Center Pilot Grant

Congratulations to Mario Otto, MD, PhD, who was awarded a one-year pilot award from the UW Carbone Cancer Center (UWCCC) entitled, “TCRαβ+/CD19+ depleted HSCT + Zoledronate for Pediatric Cancers.” This $50,000 award ($40,000 from the program and an additional $10,000 supplement for Early Phase research) is supported by the Experimental Therapeutics (XT) program funded under the federally funded Cancer Center core grant. In this Phase I clinical stem cell transplantation (SCT) trial, Dr. Otto and co-investigators will use a special form of transplant, called haploidentical SCT, where a parent of the patient is the source of the stem cells. This will ensure that virtually every child has a stem cell donor immediately available. More importantly, the trial is based on a novel, pioneering stem cell engineering process that administers functioning immune cells, in addition to large numbers of stem cells, to the patient. Patients will be given the drug zoledronate to further activate the immune cells in their body. These immune cells could provide protection from life-threatening infection and prevent cancer recurrence early after the transplant procedure, thereby improving patient survival.