Elizabeth Stewart, MD, of St. Jude Oncology, is a recipient of the 2017 National Comprehensive Cancer Network Foundation Young Investigator Award. She joined the Oncology faculty in 2014 after completing her pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Stewart was awarded a grant for research focused on improving outcomes in cancer care. She will receive $150,000 in funding over a two-year period, beginning in July 2017.
Stewart’s research proposal was reviewed by a panel of oncology experts and selected based on its scientific merit and research design.
“We plan to study specific mutations found in pediatric solid tumors and then test whether drugs targeted for these mutations are helpful in treatment,” Stewart said. “Similar efforts are currently being done in adult cancer patients; we want to use our preclinical models to help us better understand how we can adapt these same strategies for pediatric patients.”
Stewart explained that pediatric solid tumors affect infants, children, teenagers and young adults. These tumors can develop in almost any bodily structure and often require multiple types of treatment, including chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.
Previous research on the genomic characteristics of solid tumors from the St. Jude – Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project has provided a strong foundation from which to study these pediatric cancers further. In addition, the Childhood Solid Tumor Network has created preclinical models of more than 100 solid tumors — models appropriate for additional study in the lab.
“This award will help us achieve our goal of better understanding genomic differences between tumors,” Stewart said.