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Investigators from Children's Hospital LA honored

LOS ANGELES (December 7, 2010) Three investigators from The Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles have been elected into the prestigious Society for Pediatric Research. Their election to this Society represents peer recognition of their research achievements in pediatrics.

The Society for Pediatric Research exists to foster the research and career development of investigators engaged in creating new knowledge that advances the health and well‐being of young people. Membership is by election only.

Steven Mittelman, MD, PhD, conducts his research at the Center for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, and is an assistant professor of Pediatrics, Physiology, and Biophysics at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

"Being overweight impairs our ability to treat a patient's leukemia, the most common cancer occurring in children," explains Dr. Mittelman. "We've found that fat cells secrete chemical messengers that cause leukemia cells to migrate into the fat. Fat cells also secrete factors that protect leukemia cells from chemotherapy, making the disease more difficult to treat."

Leo Mascarenhas, MD, MS, is director of the Clinical Trials Office in the Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases and Principal Investigator for the National Cancer Institute funded Children's Oncology Group grant at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. He is an associate professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

"Childhood cancer is the leading cause of disease-related death in pediatrics in the United States," says Dr. Mascarenhas whose research focuses on developmental therapeutics for patients with bone and soft tissue sarcomas. "Despite the remarkable progress made in the treatment of childhood cancer in the last four decades, improved therapies are still needed for our patients with a poor prognosis and less toxic therapies for those destined to survive. This can be accomplished only through basic, translational and clinical research."

The lab overseen by Sebastien Bouret, PhD, is part of the Neuroscience program at The Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital. He is an assistant professor of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

"One theory explaining obesity is called perinatal programming," said Dr. Bouret. "Perinatal programming refers to the effect of specific events, that occur during gestation and soon after birth, on lifelong health. Nutrition during pregnancy appears to have an important impact on obesity, with both maternal obesity and maternal malnutrition increasing the incidence of obesity and type 2 diabetes in babies born to these mothers."

Dr. Brent Polk, director of The Saban Research Institute and chair of the Department of Pediatrics said, "On behalf of the Department of Pediatrics and The Saban Research Institute, I congratulate Drs. Mittelman, Mascarenhas and Bouret on this important recognition of their respective contributions to pediatric oncology and obesity, two devastating conditions affecting children today. Their acknowledgement, by membership in the Society for Pediatric Research, also underlines the quality of overall research we are doing in pediatrics at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California."


Contact: Ellin Kavanagh
Children's Hospital Los Angeles

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