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Alumnus Focus: Treatment Targets Most Common Infant Cancer

Erik KnelsonErik Knelson '07, an MD/Ph.D. student in Duke Medical School's scientist training program, is lead author of a study that developed a promising treatment for neuroblastoma, the most common cancer in infancy. The team identified a new strategy for treating neuroblastoma using a modified version of heparin, a century-old injectable drug that thins the blood to prevent clots from forming. The study, conducted in mice and published recently in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, found that when heparin is altered to remove its blood-thinning properties, it can suppress and shrink neuroblastoma tumors without causing severe bleeding. Knelson was a John M. Belk Scholar at Davidson.