Beerstecher-Blackwell Distinguished Scholar Sheila Santacroce was awarded a $50,000 research grant by Jay Scott, co-executive director of the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, Mike Condrey, managing partner of Northwestern Mutual, on March 5. The grant is part of a two-year $100,000 Nurse Discovery Award.
Dr. Santacroce plans to examine systemic inflammation and arterial stiffness in children ages 7-17 years-old for nine months after they have completed cancer therapy. Stiffened arteries require a greater amount of force to cause them to expand, forcing the heart to beat harder. Therefore, arterial stiffness can potentially indicate whether cancer treatment puts a child’s heart at risk. Dr. Santacroce will also explore whether the psychological and physiological responses kids have to cancer affects their risk for adverse cardiovascular side effects. Drs. Debra Barksdale and Jamie Crandell, from the SON and the School of Public Health respectfully, are co-investigators for the study.
“One of the biggest obstacles to curing childhood cancer is the lack of research funding,” said Mike Condrey. “Northwestern Mutual launched a national philanthropic program to find a cure and provide support to kids and families facing the daily struggles of the disease. Locally, we’re funding top university nurse researchers who are making a difference.”