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The Moonshot Pediatric Core at the Frederick National Laboratory provides resources and support to research teams within the Cancer Moonshot Initiative,  helping them accelerate development of new novel immunotherapies and improving pediatric cancer treatments. 

The Moonshot Pediatric Core was established to support research teams focused on the major drivers of childhood cancers or those working to develop immunotherapeutic approaches for children and adolescents with cancer. The National Cancer Institute provided the awards as part of the Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel recommendations.  

The core provides support to individual research teams from the Pediatric Immunotherapy Discovery and Development Network and the Fusion Oncoproteins in Childhood Cancers Network by leveraging capabilities and technologies available at the Frederick National Laboratory. These two networks contribute to the Cancer Moonshot Initiative’s goal to accelerate progress in cancer research. 

The Fusion Oncoproteins in Childhood Cancers Network 

The Fusion Oncoproteins in Childhood Cancers Network seeks to advance the understanding of the biology of fusion oncoproteins in childhood cancers to inform the development of targeted treatments for pediatric cancer patients. The network brings together researchers with expertise in structural biology, proteomics, genomics, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, and cancer biology to gain insights into the molecular drivers of childhood cancers. The network focuses on improving the knowledge of pediatric cancers that are at high-risk for treatment failure, or for which there are currently no-known effective targeted therapies.    

The goal of this network is to move the field of childhood fusion oncoproteins forward towards new, more effective treatments with fewer side effects for pediatric cancer patients. 

The Pediatric Immunotherapy Discovery and Development Network 

The Pediatric Immunotherapy Discovery and Development Network identifies and advances translational immunotherapy research for children and adolescents with cancer. This network discovers and characterizes new targets for immunotherapies, designs experimental models to test the effectiveness of pediatric immunotherapies, develops new immunotherapy treatments, and improves the understanding of tumor immunity in pediatric cancer patients. This network seeks to overcome major barriers in the development of effective immunotherapies for children, such as lower expression of proteins that can be recognized by immune cells and the immunosuppressive environments of tumors in some pediatric cancers. Investigators in the PI-DDN are working together on multicomponent research studies centered around an area of pediatric cancer research and individual pediatric immunotherapy projects.  

The goal of the network is to advance pediatric immunotherapies to treat children and adolescents with high-risk cancers.