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13.03.2015

 

Fritz-Lampert-habilitation scholarship holder of the TRANSAID Foundation

This year's Fritz-Lampert-habilitation scholarship holder of the TRANSAID Foundation for Children with Cancer (Koblenz) is determined. Dr. Florian Babor of the Department of Pediatric Oncology, Hematology and clinical Immunology at the University Hospital Düsseldorf receives one year for financial support of his scientific work.

 

In addition to his clinical work as a pediatrician in the pediatric oncology Düsseldorf, headed by Prof. Dr. A. Borkhardt, Dr. Babor devotes himself to researching the role of natural killer (NK) cells in the development and treatment of acute leukemia in childhood. NK cells, a subgroup of white blood cells, are mainly the "first line of defense" against viral infections and tumors and are of great importance. Therefore, special and specific surface receptors on NK cells seem to be responsible, which interact with the surface structures of healthy and malignant cells and thus contribute to eliminate a degenerated cell or to spare a healthy cell.

 

Apart from the field of bone marrow transplantation, the function of NK cells in cancer patients is, however, very little researched. The more remarkable are the recent research results of the scholar holder: In a study of several hundred children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), which was published in the high-level medical journal “Blood”, Dr. Babor identified a variant of the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) encoded ligands, the matching counterparts on the NK cell receptors, as an independent risk factor for the development of ALL in children. Dr. Babor could not only prove by his work that carriers of this HLA- variant more often fall ill with ALL, but also that these patients significantly more often tend to suffer a relapse of the disease years after the end of the lengthy leukemia therapy. These results now contribute help to assess the individual risk of ALL patients better and to consider the need for more intensive therapy.

 

Currently, Dr. Babor is working on options on how NK cells can be further supported in fighting against the leukemia, and it is his aim, to further improve the healing prognosis of leukemia patients by using modern antibody therapies for example.

 

We are pleased to support Dr. Babor with the post-doctoral fellowship of TRANSAID foundation in the study of this very interesting and very important question for the patients and hope to push and further cancer Research.