UCLA researcher accepts prestigious award to help fund pediatric cancer clinical trial

UCLA's Dr. Noah Federman and pediatric cancer patient

Dr. Noah Federman, a UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center member and associate professor of pediatrics hematology/oncology and orthopaedics at UCLA, has been awarded a grant from the Alan B. Slifka Foundation (ABSF) to further advance his research in patients with relapsed or refractory Ewing Sarcoma.

The ABSF is a private family foundation dedicated to the pursuit of inclusion, diversity, peace and healing. It seeks to advance, promote and support novel and innovative biomedical research that leads to a better understanding of an underlying disease process and more effective treatment protocols.

Ewing Sarcoma is a rare type of tumor that forms from a cell in bone or soft tissue and is commonly found in the bones of the legs, arms, feet, hands, chest, pelvis, spine or skull. Although rare, in the United States this aggressive cancer is the second most common primary bone cancer and is most commonly diagnosed in adolescent and young adult patients.

While the outcomes for patients with newly diagnosed Ewing Sarcoma in one area or location of the body have improved substantially over the past few decades, the prognosis for patients with recurrent or metastatic disease remains unchanged with survival being the exception rather than the rule.

The funding will support Federman’s phase I clinical trial led to test a novel small molecule that targets the EWS-FLI fusion protein which drives this aggressive and often fatal bone and soft tissue cancer. The two-year $250,000 grant will be used to cover a portion of personnel expenses, patient care costs and administration fees. Federman hopes this research will lead to better targeted therapies and improve the overall survival and quality of life for pediatric, adolescent and young adult cancer patients.