Stem-Cell Transplantation Grant to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital

Dr. Czechowicz with patient

Dr. Czechowicz with patient.

Taube Philanthropies recently announced 1:1 matching grant of $500,000 to support the work of Dr. Agnieska Czechowicz, one of the newest faculty members within the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Stem Cell Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. Revolutionary work by Dr. Czechowicz promises to make life-saving stem-cell treatments safer and available to more children with cancer. Before this therapy can be done, the patient’s own defective stem cells must be wiped out with toxic levels of chemotherapy or radiation. These treatments, which require months of hospitalization, cause horrendous short- and long-term side effects, such as severe organ damage and infertility. In collaborations with colleagues, Dr. Czechowicz has created a new, nontoxic treatment called monoclonal antibody conditioning that can target and selectively kill only the diseased stem cells prior to a blood stem-cell transplant. Once approved, this antibody conditioning drug will mean an end to chemotherapy and radiation altogether for cancer patients in need of stem-cell transplants. It will also greatly increase the number of people eligible for these curative transplants. Dr. Czechowicz is hopeful: “Of the millions of patients who could benefit from stem-cell transplants, only a fraction currently receive them because of the debilitating pretreatment radiation and chemotherapy. We are hoping to eradicate the need for these harsh pretreatments altogether.”