August 2018

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August 10, 2018

Dr. Dan Wechsler Receives Endowed Chair for Oncology

Dan Wechsler, MD, PhD, director of pediatric oncology at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, was honored with the Thomas R. Giddens Chair for Oncology. Pictured: Wechsler (seated) with Vikas Sukhatme, MD, ScD, Douglas Graham, MD, PhD, Thomas R. Giddens, and Kathelen and Dan Amos.
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Dr. Sidonio Awarded Grant for Genentech Hemlibra (Emicizumab) Study
Robert Sidonio, Jr, MD, MSc, was awarded an investigator initiated grant by Genentech to study Hemlibra's safety, efficacy and ability to lower the incidence of inhibitors in severe hemophilia A previously untreated patients. This study builds on our collective preliminary experience here at Aflac with Drs. Batsuli, Zimowski and Meeks utilizing the "Atlanta" protocol, which utilizes Hemlibra weekly in addition to the immune tolerance regimen. The study will begin in the fourth quarter with CHOA being the primary site and coordinating an additional 12 sites in the US. The study was also funded by Octapharma who will provide Nuwiq, a recombinant FVIII product, for the entire study. Approximately 4 million dollars in funding will support this trial.
Sarcoma Foundation of America Research Grant Awarded to Dr. Schnepp
Aflac faculty member, Robert Schnepp, MD, PhD, was recently awarded a Sarcoma Foundation of America Grant to better study an extremely aggressive pediatric cancer known as alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma. The Schnepp laboratory has preliminary evidence that a protein known as BMI1 causes rhabdomyosarcoma cells to grow uncontrollably. As drugs targeting BMI1 exist, his laboratory will determine whether blocking BMI1 may provide a novel approach for treatment of this disease.
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18th Annual WSB Care-a-Thon Raises More Than $1.6M for Aflac

The 2018 News 95.5 and AM750 WSB Care-a-Thon was another huge success for the Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center! Over the course of two days, more than $1.6 million was raised for our patients, their families and the staff to continue the mission to find a cure for cancer and blood disorders. The WSB Care-a-Thon features stories of hope and inspiration from Aflac Cancer Center patients, families and staff from throughout Georgia. With the help of WSB hosts Scott Slade, Clark Howard, Herman Cain, Neal Boortz, Erick Erickson, Eric Von Haessler and Mark Arum, the annual Care-a-Thon has raised more than $22 million for the Aflac Cancer Center's family support team, fellowship program and research. Click below to watch the highlights from this year!
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Sixth Annual Swim Across America Open Swim September 22, 2018
Mark your calendars! The sixth annual Swim Across America Atlanta Open Swim is Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018 at Lake Lanier with more than 1,000 swimmers, volunteers, spectators and supporters, as well as Olympians from near and far. Past Olympian participants have included Missy Franklin, Steve Lundquist and many others! The first 20 employees to sign up can use the code AFLAC25 to receive $25 off their registration fee. Contact Ashley Baker at with questions.
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Welcome New Faculty!
Please join us in welcoming the newest additions to the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center: Kavita Dhodapkar, MBBS, Director of the Pediatric Immuno-Oncology Program; Edwin Horwitz, MD, PhD; Gary Woods, MD, Associate Director of the Stroke Program; and James Klosky, PhD, ABPP, Director of Psychology.
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Das R, Bar N, Ferreira M, Newman AM, Zhang L, Bailur JK, Bacchiocchi A, Kluger H, Wei W, Halaban R, Sznol M, Dhodapkar MV, Dhodapkar KM
"Early B cell changes predict autoimmunity following combination immune checkpoint blockade" - The Journal of Clinical Investigation

Gu L, Zhang H, Liu T, Draganov A, Yi S, Wang B, Zhou M
"Inhibition of MDM2 by a rhein-derived compound AQ-101 suppresses cancer development in SCID mice" - Molecular Cancer Therapeutics

Hyacinth HI, Carty CL, Seals RS, Irvin MR, Naik RP, Burke GL, Zakai NA, Wilson JG, Franceschini N, Winkler CA, David VA, Kopp J, Judd SE, Adams RJ, Longstreth Jr. WT, Egede L, Lackland DT, Taylor H, Manson JE, Howard V, Allison M, Gee BE, Correa A, Safford MM, Arnett DK, Howard G, Reiner AP, Cushman M
"Association of sickle cell trait with ischemic stroke among African Americans: A Meta-analysis" - JAMA Neurology

Keller FG, Castellino SM, Chen L, Pei Q, Voss SD, McCarten KM, Senn SL, Buxton AB, Bush R, Constine LS, Schwartz CL
"Results of the AHOD0431 trial of response adapted therapy and a salvage strategy for limited stage, classical Hodgkin lymphoma" - A report from the Children's Oncology Group

Qiu Y, Ahn B, Sakurai Y, Hansen CE, Tran R, Mimche PN, Mannino RG, Lamb TJ, Joiner CH, Ofori-Acquah SF, Lam WA
"Microvasculature-on-a-chip for the long-term study of endothelial barrier dysfunction and microvascular obstruction in disease" - Nature Biomedical Engineering

Quach ME, Dragovich MA, Chen W, Syed AK, Cao W, Liang X, Deng W, De Meyer SF, Zhu G, Peng J, Ni H, Bennett CM, Hou M, Ware J, Deckmyn H, Zhang XF, Li R
"Fc-independent immune thrombocytopenia via mechanomolecular signaling in platelets" - Blood Journal

Raikar SS, Park, SI, Leong T, Jay DL, Keller FG, Horan JT and Woods WG
"Isolated myeloperoxidase expression in pediatric B/Myeloid mixed phenotype acute leukemia is linked with better prognosis" - Blood Journal

Sakurai Y, Hardy ET, Ahn B, Tran R, Fay ME, Ciciliano JC, Mannino RG, Myers DR, Qiu Y, Carden MA, Baldwin WH, Meeks SL, Gilbert GE, Jobe SM, Lam WA
"A microengineered vascularized bleeding model that integrates the principal components of hemostasis" - Nature Communications

Zheng H, Yu WM, Waclaw RR, Kontaridis MI, Neel BG, and Qu CK
"Gain-of-function mutations in protein tyrosine phosphatase Ptpn11 (Shp2) induce hydrocephalus in a catalytically-dependent manner" - Science Signaling


Renhao Li, PhD, will receive funding from an R01 entitled "Conformational activation of von Willebrand factor." (Pete Lollar, MD is a co-investigator on this grant)

Shannon Meeks, MD, and Sean Stowell, MD, PhD, are principal investigators on a new NIH R01 award, entitled "Defining Initiating Factors Responsible for the Development of FVIII Inhibitors."

Wilbur Lam, MD, PhD, will receive funding for a U54 he submitted with Georgia Tech (and the help of Stacy Heilman, PhD). This is a $7+ million grant that is focused on Point of Care (POC) technologies for cardiac, pulmonary, hematologic, and sleep applications

Peter Lane, MD, and Lakshmanan Krishnamurti, MD, received $1.2M and $1.5M three-year grants, respectively, from The Abraham J. & Phyllis Katz Foundation for their efforts in Sickle Cell Disease Research.

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