How do we select what research gets funding?

We have created a Scientific Review Committee compiled of current pediatric research scientists, members of a pediatric research consortium, pharmaceutical industry scientists, and/or clinical trials coordinators. These individuals are in place to help us to identify pediatric cancer scientists with promising work that we can fund. 

Jim olson, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor, Clinical Research
Jennifer Lynn Kranz, Unravel Pediatric Cancer Endowed Chair

As a physician-scientist, Dr. Olson cares for children with brain tumors and conducts research that focuses on discovering and developing new cancer therapies. His lab’s work has led to more than a dozen national clinical trials, of which he leads a Phase III trial through the Children’s Oncology Group. Dr. Olson is the founder of Presage Biosciences and Blaze Bioscience.

His lab invented the chlorotoxin-based Tumor Paint, which led to the development by Blaze of the clinical candidate Tozuleristide (BLZ-100), now in human trials. He authored “Clinical Pharmacology Made Ridiculously Simple,” which has been the most used pharmacology board review book for more than 25 years.

Dr. Olson earned his Ph.D. in Pharmacology in 1989 and his M.D. in 1991, both from the University of Michigan. He then completed his residency in pediatrics in 1994 and his fellowship in pediatric oncology in 1997, both at the University of Washington. Dr. Olson is currently a Full Member at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, a Professor at the University of Washington, and an Attending Physician at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

For more info on Dr. Olson, click here.

ANDREW L. HONG,
M.D., PH.D.

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF PEDIATRICS
EMORY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

Dr. Hong's research focuses on high risk solid tumors (e.g. kidney cancers, soft tissue sarcomas and brain tumors). These cancers represent the areas of greatest need in Pediatric Oncology. His work uses functional genomic techniques (e.g. RNAi, CRISPR-Cas9) and the latest sequencing technologies (e.g. long range phased sequencing, scRNAseq, ATACseq) to identify new therapeutics and mechanisms in pediatric cancers.

"As a fellow in pediatric oncology nearly a decade ago, I had the privilege of caring for several kids with ATRT. Their stories stayed with me as I became more involved in research. Throughout my research, I kept returning to SMARCB1, the protein lost in ATRT and as a result, I have been looking for ways to therapeutically target cancers that have SMARCB1 lost. One of our recent efforts are to identify novel ways we can understand the interaction between ATRTs with the immune system and trying to develop the model systems to study this in the lab."

For more info on Dr. Hong's research, click here.

Katherine E. Warren, MD, PhD

CLINICAL DIRECTOR, PEDIATRIC NEURO-ONCOLOGY AND PHYSICIAN - DANA-FARBER CANCER INSTITUTE

Dr. Warren is an internationally recognized expert in pediatric neuro-oncology. She was appointed Clinical Director of Pediatric Neuro-Oncology at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's in 2019 and was previously Senior Investigator and head of the Neuro-Oncology Section in the Pediatric Oncology branch of the National Cancer Institute where she worked for more than 25 years. Her major focus is developing new therapeutics to improve the outcome and quality of life for children with CNS tumors. Her work focuses on rational, pharmacokinetic-based drug development for children with brain tumors, and she is a leading innovator in developing new means of drug delivery. Her clinical trials have led the field in exploring new approaches for the treatment of children with these diseases. Dr. Warren has extensive experience in pharmacology, neuro-imaging, and clinical trial design and incorporates each of these into her research. She has led a number of clinical trials, including single institution, multi-institution, national consortium, and international trials.

Dr. Warren currently serves as the chair of RAPNO (Response Assessment in Pediatric Neuro-Oncology), a member of the NCI Brain Malignancy Steering Committee, NCI Clinical Trials, and Translational Research Advisory Committee Ad hoc Working Group on Glioblastoma, and is a steering committee member for the DIPG Registry. She has served on numerous national and international scientific committees and advisory boards.

For more info on Dr. Warren, click here.

Anna Geraghty 

POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCH FELLOW, NEUROLOGY AND NEUROLOGICAL SCIENCES - Monje Lab: Stanford

The white matter infrastructure of the brain depends on the function of a stem cell-like group of cells called oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) that form an insulation called myelin around the long nerve fibers (much like wires) that connect electrically active brain cells. The Monje-Deisseroth research group has recently shown that more active neural circuits become better myelinated such that brain circuits used more function better. The molecules that mediate this adaptive effect of active brain cells on the behavior of OPCs is not yet well understood. One molecule, known to be expressed more in active brain regions, that modulates the behavior of OPCs during development or after certain forms of brain injury to promote growth and regeneration of myelin is called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Anna’s project seeks to understand if BDNF regulates activity-dependent OPC proliferation and myelin growth in the healthy brain and if medicines that mimic BDNF could be used to promote regeneration after white matter injury.

For more info on the Monje Lab at Stanford, click here.

Michael A. Koldobskiy, M.D., M.S., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Oncology - Johns Hopkins

Dr. Koldobskiy is an Assistant Professor of Pediatric Oncology and Pediatric Neuro-Oncology at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. He received his B.S. and M.S. from Yale University and M.D./Ph.D. in the Medical Scientist Training Program at Johns Hopkins, conducting his thesis research with Dr. Solomon Snyder in Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences. He completed his Pediatrics residency training at Johns Hopkins and his Pediatric Hematology and Oncology fellowship training in the joint Johns Hopkins/National Institutes of Health program. He studies epigenetic variability in childhood cancer.

To learn more about the lab click here.
For Dr. Koldobskiy's bio page click here.

JASON T. YUSTEIN, MD

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR - PEDIATRICS, HEMATOLOGY-ONCOLOGY
BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE

Creates mouse models and patient-derived xenograft cell lines for metastatic osteosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma, and rhabdomyosarcoma, and studies the mechanisms for development, progression, metastasis and resistance to treatment for those diseases. Most lab work is focused on using the mouse models and cell lines developed in house to test potential therapeutic strategies before passing along the data to clinical trialists. Has junior faculty, postdocs and grad students, some of whom are studying underlying molecular mechanisms of tumor establishment and progression. The mouse models are unique in that they are wild type, not immunocompromised, but growing the tumors. He makes his cell lines available to colleagues.

To learn more about the lab click here.
Dr. Yustein Bio click here.

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Unravel 2020 Researchers

Research we supported in 2020

JIM OLSON, M.D., PH.D.

Andrew L. Hong,
M.D., PH.D.

PROFESSOR, CLINICAL RESEARCH
JENNIFER LYNN KRANZ, UNRAVEL PEDIATRIC CANCER ENDOWED CHAIR

Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Emory University School of Medicine


Anna Geraghty

POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCH FELLOW, NEUROLOGY AND NEUROLOGICAL SCIENCES - MONJE LAB: STANFORD

Michael Koldobskiy
M.D., M.S., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Oncology - Johns Hopkins Medicine

Katherine E. Warren, MD, PHD

Clinical Director, Pediatric Neuro-Oncology and Physician - Dana-Farber Cancer institute

Jason T. Yustein, MD, PhD

Associate Professor
Pediatrics, Hematology-Oncology
Baylor College of Medicine

What makes Unravel different?

In the traditional funding model, researchers cannot be nimble. If their research leads them to a new and important finding, they cannot redirect funds from other grants to pursue this promising information.

This is where Unravel comes in. Our goal at Unravel is to eliminate obstacles, bottlenecks, and barriers by providing unrestricted funding to help researchers translate ideas into new therapies. We do not ask researchers to take hours to write a grant. We select the best researchers knowing they are working tirelessly to find new, less toxic therapies for the children they are treating and their families.

Unravel funding disrupts a broken system.

Traditional Grant Funding

The current funding system mainly supports clinical trials, hardly any money goes to funding innovation and early stage research. 

Our goal at Unravel is to eliminate obstacles, bottlenecks, and barriers by providing unrestricted funding to help researchers find new therapies. Putting the emphasis and money towards early stage research and innovation.

This is where Unravel can make a difference and prevent more kids from dying from cancer.

unravel Funding

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