Meet 5 For The Fight Fellow: Samuel Cheshier, MD, PHD

5 For The Fight, the cancer crowdfunding campaign and patch partner of the Utah Jazz, helps Dr. Cheshier fight five pediatric malignant primary tumors

When Samuel Cheshier was 13 years old, his favorite cousin died of colon cancer. “I always think of him when I do cancer research,” Cheshier says.

As a pediatric neurosurgeon, he witnesses firsthand the devastation that malignant brain tumors cause patients and their families. The desire to help them motivates his basic science research, with the goal of translating experiment into therapies.

“My laboratory has been utilizing a powerful immune therapy strategy where interactions between tumor cells and specialized cells immune cells called macrophages are blocked, which allows the macrophage to eat the tumor cell,” Cheshier says.

In the immune system, macrophages are cells — large in size and importance — that respond to an infection or an accumulation of damaged or dead cells. The term derives from the Greek “makro” (big) and “phagein” meaning eat.

Operating on brain tumors in both kids and adults, the 5 For The Fight Cancer Research Fellowship will help speed up the pace of his research, allowing him to start a new project using a nanotechnology-based approach to build agents from the molecules up that specifically target cancer cells. Operating on brain tumors in both kids and adults, he uses malignant brain tumor samples to study in the lab.

Dr. Cheshier in the laboratory at Huntsman Cancer Institute.

“Patient-derived malignant brain tumors have been used to conduct an excellent preclinical evaluation of a possible immune therapy to fight five pediatric malignant primary tumors,” Cheshier said.

Medulloblastoma and pediatric glioblastoma multiforme are malignant high-grade brain tumors, often fatal. Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor in children; it accounts for about 20% of all pediatric brain cancers. Glioblastoma accounts for 3–15% of primary central nervous system tumors in children and are always fatal.

“More knowledge in this area is very urgently needed,” he said. “The concept of an organized fight against cancer is what draws me to the 5 For The Fight Fellowship at Huntsman Cancer Institute. We have to go to battle against these deadliest tumors.”

Dr. Cheshier is a surgeon who also researches the cancers he treated. Medulloblastoma and pediatric glioblastoma multiforme are malignant high-grade brain tumors, often fatal.

Advice for Young Scientists
“Go for it. It is fun!”

What He Would Tell Patients
“I am working to figure out brain cancers so that we can offer every child with brain cancer a treatment that works and is safe.”

Find out more about the research you have helped fund through the 5 For The Fight Cancer Research Fellowship at Huntsman Cancer Institute.
5 For The Fight invites everyone to give $5 for the fight against cancer at 5forthefight.org

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