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Hyundai Hope on Wheels gives $250,000 to support childhood leukemia research

January 2013

by Will Sansom

Rick Dorn and Dr. Alexander Bishop with 4-year-old Morgan Malone
(Right to left) Dr. Alexander Bishop celebrates the Hope Grant at the Greehey CCRI with 4-year-old Morgan Malone and Rick Dorn, regional south central manager of Hyundai Motor America. The grant will benefit children such as Morgan’s twin brother, Waylon, who was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma with bone marrow involvement last year.
Hyundai Motor America and local Hyundai dealers brought the Hyundai Hope on Wheels™ program to San Antonio, presenting a $250,000 Hope Grant to scientists in the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio.

The Hope Grant will support studies of myelodysplasia and leukemia conducted by Alexander Bishop, D.Phil., and Vivienne Rebel, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professors in the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology. These scientists work in laboratories at the Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute (CCRI), where Hyundai officials presented an oversized check.

Myelodysplastic syndromes are serious blood cell disorders in which the bone marrow does not function normally. Dr. Rebel said the syndromes are difficult to treat, prompting the search for novel ways to address them.

Dr. Bishop studies DNA repair defects in syndromes such as Bloom’s syndrome, a rare inherited disorder that frequently leads to cancer and often displays myelodysplastic syndrome. DNA, the genetic blueprint in cells, undergoes insults and repair constantly. The insults are from environmental and other factors.

"We’re very excited about this grant," Dr. Bishop said. "We asked whether the cells defective in patients with myelodysplasia have DNA repair defects, and the answer is yes. With this grant we can now ask why."

"Everyone knows someone, perhaps a child, who has been touched by cancer," said Gail Tomlinson, M.D., Ph.D., who holds the Greehey Distinguished Chair in the Genetics of Cancer at the UT Health Science Center. "These university-community relationships are so important."

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Updated 7/30/14