Children Inspire My Research. Donors Sustain It.

dr cheryl peretz

Dr. Cheryl Peretz is cancer researcher who specializes in pediatric hematology and oncology at the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland. She received a Conquer Cancer Young Investigator Award in 2019.

By Cheryl A. C. Peretz, MD

Children Deserve Cures

As cliché as it sounds, it is my patients who inspire my research every day. Children have an amazing resilience, regardless and in spite of a leukemia diagnosis.

I cared for a 5-year-old patient with Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) who choreographed dances every day of his treatment, even for the months he spent in the hospital. I am further awed by patients’ families, whose resolve brings them to incredible lengths to help their children. I worked with one family who used all their savings to travel across the world to get to a cancer center to treat their son’s AML. 

Not all leukemias are created equal

My research, supported by a Conquer Cancer Young Investigator Award, investigates how FLT3-activated AML becomes resistant to chemotherapy and how the other genetic features of this leukemia change over time to transform it into relapsed disease. 

Some cancers are predisposed to drug-resistance, and therefore relapse. We know that genetic factors play a role in leukemias’ susceptibility to known therapies. AML with activation of the fms-like tyrosine kinase receptor 3 (FLT3) gene tends to be more resistant to current treatments. 

Why I Conquer

I hope to mirror the optimism and perseverance of my patients and their families in the work that I do. Children with high-risk malignancy, including relapsed, refractory, and/or FLT3-activated AML, deserve transformative cancer research driven by investigators who are motivated equally by the passion to give health back to our patients and the scientific curiosity to discover the next generation of pediatric cancer treatment. I aspire to help move us in this direction.  
The protected time that I have received through my grant funding is invaluable to helping me work towards our goal – to conquer cancer.