The SIOP Congress this year in Washington, D.C. was a great opportunity to hear about young investigators across the world doing innovative research. There were numerous grant awardees at this meeting and as a result we wanted to put together a series describing the award winners. Stay tuned for following weeks as we spotlight some of these incredible young investigators!
Dr. Atul Batra is an assistant professor in the department of medical oncology at Dr. BRA IRCH in New Delhi. He received his MBBS at the Maulana Azad Medical College, followed by his medical degree and subspecialty in oncology at the All India Institute of Medical Science. He already has obtained numerous awards in the field of medical oncology, with his last award as a young investigator at the SIOP annual conference in 2015 in Capetown, South Africa. He also received a best clinical research award at his home training site. He is currently undergoing an international CML preceptorship at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, New York.
Dr. Francianne Andrade is another awardee. Dr. Andrade is a Ph.D. student at the National Cancer Institute in Brazil, currently at the final stages of her doctoral degree. The SIOP-YI-NET Award made it possible to discuss her Ph.D. project with SIOP attendees learning a great deal from experienced members. She has been working on molecular biology and the natural history of pediatric acute leukemias. Dr. Andrade has been motivated by the challenge to understand the etiology of the disease, and thus working towards prevention and successful treatment. Within leukemic cells, genetic abnormalities define specific subtypes of leukemia, demonstrating that childhood leukemia is not a single homogeneous disease, but the definable subtypes among ages present with their own characteristics. More than one decade ago, genetic studies led to the development of the “two-hit model” of leukemogenesis, which postulates that the genetic events causative of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) occur in two broad classes of genes with distinct roles in leukemic transformation. Currently, although it is acceptable that additional pathways are involved in AML pathogenesis, the minimum two class of mutations initially proposed, are required for overt disease. She is investigating the prevalence of the two class of gene mutations to guide the knowledge about pediatric AML pathogenesis and stratification of patients in prognostic risk groups. She is also exploring the association of genetic abnormalities with age ranges, opening new perspectives for biological differences of AML in children, adolescents, and young adults. Her group has shown that differences in overall survival reflected the variation in the treatment and the socioeconomic differences across Brazilian geographical regions. Besides that, inherited genetic factors may also be associated with adverse outcome. She had the opportunity to present and address questions from her research and as a result of her success was also given Best Poster Award at the 49th Congress of SIOP.