Big Ideas

Leonard Zon, M.D., Ph.D.

May 30, 2012

Dr. Leonard Zon of Boston Children’s Hospital was awarded a V Foundation Translational Grant in 2011. Zon is the Director of the Children’s Stem Cell Program at the hospital. He is working with zebrafish to determine chemicals that target and slow the growth of melanoma cancer cells. By looking at widespread melanoma tumors in zebrafish, Zon and his research team were able to identify a new melanoma gene named SETDB1. He is widely recognized for his work in the genetic modification of zebrafish for the study of specific diseases.

With the help of funding from The V Foundation, Dr. Zon’s lab discovered a chemical combination that shrank tumors in 40 percent of mice subjects. Dr. Zon said he is eager to test the drug combination in clinics. This work means great strides in the treatment of melanoma, but it could lead to breakthroughs in the research of other cancers as well.