Grants - V Scholar Grants - Texas - 2018

H. Courtney Hodges, Ph.D.

“Spirit of Jimmy V” Award funded by the Dick Vitale Gala in honor of Chris Berman

Neuroblastoma is a fast-growing cancer that affects hundreds of infants and children in the U.S. each year. The age of the patient is one of the most important factors for survival. While infants diagnosed before the age of 18 months have a 95% cure rate, older children have only around 50% chance of survival. We aim to improve the treatment options against the more aggressive neuroblastomas in older children.

Recent studies show that a gene called SMARCA4 has a major role in these cancers. We are working to identify all the other genes that depend on SMARCA4 in diseased cells, and then attack the key weak spots. By targeting the whole network instead of a single gene, we will identify new ways to treat neuroblastoma in older children. Our research is a viable first step to improve survival and quality of life for children affected by neuroblastoma.