As part of its mission to find “a cure for all children with cancer,” Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation recently announced more than $7 million in new grants to researchers around the country, including four at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Children’s Hospital investigators Garrett Brodeur, MD, Michael Hogarty, MD, Richard Aplenc, MD, and Robert Schnepp, MD, PhD, all received grants from the organization, for a total of $800,000 in cancer research funding.

Originally started in 2000 by then 4-year-old Alexandra “Alex” Scott (1996-2004) as a lemonade stand to raise money for cancer research, over the years Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) has evolved into a robust national organization. Since its inception, ALSF has raised more than $60 million to fund over 300 groundbreaking research projects.

The recent ALSF grants fell into three categories: Innovation Awards, Young Investigator Awards, and Epidemiology Awards. Both Drs. Brodeur and Hogarty received Innovation Awards, which provide grantees $250,000 over two years.

Dr. Brodeur’s award will fund his investigation of using nanoparticles to deliver therapeutic agents. For his part, Dr. Hogarty will study the epigenetics of the childhood cancer neuroblastoma. Often appearing as a solid tumor in a child’s chest or abdomen, neuroblastoma is one of the deadliest pediatric cancers, causing 10 to 15 percent of all cancer-related deaths despite only comprising 7 percent of childhood cancers.

Dr. Aplenc, meanwhile, was the recipient of an Epidemiology Award, and will receive $200,000 over two years. The grant will support a project that seeks to “improve the effectiveness of cooperative use trials by using administrative clinical data from approximately 100 hospital sites.”

And last but not least, Dr. Schnepp received a Young Investigator Award. Currently an instructor and attending physician working in the laboratory of John M. Maris, MD, Dr. Schnepp has been investigating what role the protein LIN28B plays in neuroblastoma.