Kristen VanHeyst, DO, of UH Rainbow's Angie Fowler Adolescent & Young Adult Cancer Institute, receives CureSearch Young Investigator Award to find immunotherapeutic options for osteosarcoma

Monday, May 08, 2023

CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, a national nonprofit on a mission to end childhood cancer by driving targeted and innovative research in an accelerated time frame, announced it will fund a novel project aimed at developing new therapies for osteosarcoma, an aggressive form of bone cancer. 

Kristen VanHeyst, DO, of University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital’s Angie Fowler Adolescent & Young Adult Cancer Institute, received a CureSearch Young Investigator Award to find immunotherapeutic options for osteosarcoma.  

Kristen VanHeyst, DO
Kristen VanHeyst, DO

Although overall survival rates for osteosarcoma are improving, there have been no significant improvements in survival outcomes for patients with metastatic pulmonary osteosarcoma – osteosarcoma that has spread. This project may highly impact the survival of osteosarcoma patients by offering real clinical opportunities for treatment.  

“As a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist, I care for many patients with a variety of malignancies,” said Dr. VanHeyst. “I look forward to impacting clinical translation in an effort to improve patient care and treatment options.” 

Dr. VanHeyst will target the molecule TGF-ß, which is produced by osteosarcoma cells and immune cells in the tumor microenvironment. The presence of TGF-ß dampens the ability of the patient’s immune system to eradicate this tumor. 

“This project is innovative and may highly impact the survival of pediatric and adolescent and young adult patients with osteosarcoma by offering hope for finding curative options,” said Holly Zink, Director of Research and Programs. 

About the CureSearch Young Investigator Award  

The CureSearch Young Investigator Award encourages promising scientists, early in their careers, to remain in their field of research by providing financial support, career development and mentoring opportunities. These grants are limited to truly transformational science designed to deliver innovative cancer treatments toward clinical trials and train the next generation of pediatric cancer researchers. 

To learn more about how you can support innovative projects like these and help advance childhood cancer research, visit

About CureSearch for Children’s Cancer 
CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, a national nonprofit organization that works to end childhood cancer by driving targeted and innovative research with measurable results in an accelerated time frame. Using a unique funding strategy, CureSearch only funds translational research projects with the strongest potential to become a new treatment and quickly reach patients. To learn more visit 

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