Texas A&M Professor Receives Grant for Lifesaving Childhood Cancer Research
Posted July 26, 2017
Dr. Heather Wilson-Robles
Dr. Heather Wilson-Robles, an associate professor and the Dr. Fred
A. and Vola N. Palmer Chair in Comparative Oncology in the Texas
A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences’
(CVM) Small Animal Clinical Sciences Department, has been awarded a
$94,255 research grant from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
"Dr. Wilson-Robles is a quintessential clinician-scholar whose
independent and collaborative discoveries are carving the path to a
better understanding of cancer and, ultimately, to effective cancer
treatments in canine patients that will eventually translate to
human patients," said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean
of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University.
Wilson-Robles’ grant is one of 90 given to professors from
across the country by St. Baldrick’s Foundation. The foundation is
providing $23.5 million in its summer grant cycle to support the
brightest minds in the pediatric cancer field.
"For nearly a decade, Dr. Wilson-Robles has conducted
leading-edge clinical trials that impact human and animal health,”
said Dr. Jonathan Levine, department head, professor, and Helen
McWhorter Chair in Small Animal Clinical Sciences. “This grant
represents an exciting extension of her work on bone cancer, this
time exploring the lethal spread of tumor cells to other sites in
Her project, funded through June 2018, will examine a new drug
that targets the cells that spread; this process has shown promise
as a therapy.
“Bone cancer is an aggressive disease in both children and pet
dogs that can be painful and often leads to death of the patient
even with aggressive surgery and chemotherapy,” Wilson-Robles said.
“Most often these patients die because the tumor has spread to
other areas of the body, not from the original bone tumor, which is
often removed with surgery. Therefore, in order to better battle
this disease, new therapies that target the cells that spread are
“Our goal is to more thoroughly investigate this drug for its
ability to prevent or delay spread of the tumor cells using both
human and dog bone tumor cells,” she said.
Every two minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer worldwide.
One in five kids diagnosed in the U.S. will not survive, and of
those who do, two-thirds will suffer from long-term effects from
the very treatment that saved their life; each phase of the
research process, from the laboratory to translational research to
clinical trials, plays a crucial part in developing new therapies
that will give kids with cancer the healthy childhoods they
“St. Baldrick’s leads the charge to take childhood back from
cancer and is dedicated to funding the best research, no matter
where it takes place,” said Kathleen Ruddy, CEO of the St.
Baldrick’s Foundation. “Through our grants, we are proud to support
world-class experts of today, as well as the next generation of
researchers whose innovative approaches employ cutting-edge
technology and emerging science to find cures and treatments to
create a growing generation of childhood cancer survivors.”
The St. Baldrick’s
Foundation, is a volunteer-powered charity dedicated to raising
childhood cancer research.
To learn about other research St. Baldrick’s is funding, visit
grants search page at
For more information about the Texas A&M College of
Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, please visit our
website at vetmed.tamu.edu or join us
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Contact Information: Megan Palsa, Executive Director of
Communications, Media & Public Relations, Texas A&M College
of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science; email@example.com ;
979-862-4216; 979-421-3121 (cell)
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