Pediatric Cancer & Blood Disorders Research

Our multidisciplinary team of physician-scientists conducts various research projects through the Stanley Manne Children's Research Institute at Lurie Children's to help promote patient care and better educate families. We hope our research efforts will improve treatment for children with hard-to-treat cancer and blood disorders. View additional information on research studies and researchers below.

Cancer Research

Clinical trials are studies, managed by government agencies, educational institutions, private not-for-profit organizations, or commercial businesses to develop, produce and evaluate the effectiveness of new treatments and therapies for diseases.

We participate in clinical trials sponsored by:

  • Children's Oncology Group (COG), a National Cancer Institute-sponsored group formed by the merger of the Pediatric Oncology Group, the Children's Cancer Group, the National Wilm's Tumor Study Group and the Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study Group    
  • Children's Oncology Group (COG) Phase I Consortium    
  • Institutional Trials    
  • Industry trials (Pharmaceutical)    
  • Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network (CERN)    
  • Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium (PBTC)    
  • Therapeutic Advances in Childhood Leukemia (TACL)

Blood Disorder Research

We participate in several areas of research focused on non-malignant blood disorders and actively participate in many national consortia-led studies in rare blood diseases, including: 

  • NIH/NHLBI-sponsored research on health outcomes and digital/mobile health solutions for medication adherence in sickle cell disease and thalassemia 
  • NIH/NHLBI-sponsored research on cardiopulmonary fitness, physical activity and exercise safety in children with sickle cell disease 
  • Pivotal clinical trials evaluating safety and efficacy of gene-based therapies for sickle cell disease, thalassemia and hemophilia 
  • Industry-sponsored clinical trials on new therapies and drugs for treating hemoglobin disorders (sickle cell disease and thalassemia), blood clots and bleeding disorders such as hemophilia  
  • Research on natural history and complications of hemophilia sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 
  • Research on the natural history, prevention and treatment of blood clots in critically ill newborns and neonates 
  • Participation in national research groups focused on aplastic anemia and bone marrow failure ( and immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) (  

About Clinical Trials

Clinical and community trials researchers in the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders translate the meaningful discoveries of basic science into promising clinical applications through evaluation of new diagnostic tests and drugs, behavioral treatments, and other interventions to determine their effects on pediatric health.

Basic Science Research

Several dedicated laboratories are investigating the molecular genetic and physiologic basis for childhood cancer development and identifying personalized, tumor-specific therapies:

Li (Loretta) Laboratory

Loretta Li, MD, is a pediatric oncologist with clinical expertise in blood cancers, including leukemia and lymphoma. She has a particular interest in caring for patients with high-risk leukemia including those with relapsed or refractory disease. She leads a translational leukemia research laboratory focused on identifying new therapeutic targets, developing preclinical models of disease, and validating the preclinical efficacy of novel targeted therapeutics in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Her lab also studies how leukemia cells become resistant to targeted therapies. This work will provide insight as to which patients would most likely benefit from a targeted agent, facilitate the development of combination strategies to prevent or overcome resistance, and guide the rational design of next-generation small molecule inhibitors.

Li (Xiao-Nan) Laboratory

Dr. Li's laboratory focuses on molecular neuro-oncology and translational experimental therapeutics with a goal of developing more effective and less toxic therapies for children with malignant brain tumors. Our ultimate goal is to improve the clinical outcomes of pediatric malignant brain tumors.

MacQuarrie Laboratory

Kyle MacQuarrie, MD, PhD, is a pediatric oncologist who specializes clinically in the care of children with solid tumors, and has a particular interest in pediatric sarcomas. Dr. MacQuarrie’s research interests include understanding the relationship between normal developmental biology and pediatric cancer, focusing on the pediatric tumor of skeletal muscle, rhabdomyosarcoma. Dr. MacQuarrie hopes to leverage these types of studies to advance our understanding and treatment of pediatric cancers generally. He also has an interest in scientific and medical diversity, equity, inclusion, and mentoring.

Perlman Laboratory

Studies in Dr. Perlman's lab are aimed at defining biological markers that shed light on the pathogenesis and/or aid in the therapeutic stratification of pediatric renal tumors and pediatric germ cell tumors. We are performing these studies in collaboration with the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), which governs treatment protocols used for over 90% of pediatric malignancies and serves as a central collections agency for biological samples.