Each week, the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy will highlight the bold work of researchers who have received funding from the Eshelman Institute for Innovation (EII). The Eshelman Institute for Innovation is made possible by a $100 million gift from Fred Eshelman to accelerate the creation and development of ideas leading to discoveries and transformative changes in education, research and health care.
To learn more about the EII’s impact, visit unceii.org/impact.
Meet: Shawn Hingtgen, Ph.D.
Project: Cytotoxic Stem Cell Therapy for Pediatric Brain Cancer
Funded Amount: $50,000
About Project: Medulloblastoma (MBM) is the most common brain cancer in children. We will develop a game-changing approach to MBM therapy where tumor-homing neural stem cells seek out invasive MBM cells and deliver anti-cancer gene products to eradicate local and invasive tumors. This innovative therapy will address an enormous medical need and move MBM treatment in exciting new directions. The research showed the tumor-homing neural stem cells infiltrated the tumors, reduced their growth rate and volume, and led to increased survival in mice. This is a very promising animal result that the group will try to move to treating human patients.
“Early support from the Eshelman Institute has been game changing for this project. It allowed us to generate early-stage data the lead to a publication and recent follow-on funding from a Foundation. It also sets to the stage to begin designing steps and studies to translate this technology into human patients. The potential to truly make a difference in the lives of pediatric brain cancer patients was always our goal from the start, and it means the world to us to begin those discussions,” Shawn said.