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CHLA Doctor Funded For Stem Cell Research

Chintan Parekh, M.D., a fellow in the Division of Hematology-Oncology at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), has received a two-year award of $127,194 to fund stem cell research.

Parekh’s research project, “Regulated Expansion of Human Hematopoietic Progenitors,”  focuses on blood stem cell transplantation and a method to expand blood stem cells to facilitate the use of cord blood stem cell transplantation in the treatment of childhood blood cancers; an important step toward a cure.

“Children with aggressive blood cancers often need blood stem cell transplantation to be cured,” said Parekh. “My research focuses on a new blood stem cell transplantation strategy for children who lack a suitable donor.

“Support from St. Baldrick’s Foundation will enable me to develop and study this transplantation strategy,” he said,

Parekh is one of 22 doctors currently receiving funding as a St. Baldrick’s Fellow.

Applications for funding were evaluated by the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee and other expert reviewers, who made funding recommendations to the board of directors of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

Pediatric oncology fellowships are for three years. The fellow’s first year is spent mostly in the clinic, with the next two years – those funded by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation – spent doing research under a mentor.

St. Baldrick’s began as a challenge between friends, and expanded into the world’s largest volunteer-driven fundraising program for childhood cancer research. 

Worldwide, 160,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year and in the U.S., cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among children.

St. Baldrick’s Foundation coordinates worldwide head-shaving events, with volunteer “shavees” raising money to support childhood cancer research.  Since 2000, head-shavings have taken place in 24 countries and 50 U.S. states, raising more than $66 million, and shaving more than 100,000 heads.

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