Welcome to Project Stella

Project Stella is a unique initiative at Fred Hutch Cancer Center focused on developing targeted treatments for an aggressive form of Acute Myeloid Leukemia called AML-RAM/CBF-GLIS. This form of AML impacts children under the age of 5 and currently carries a dismal 8-14% survival rate.  The aim of Project Stella is simple: identify the targets, attack the targets, cure the cancer.

Project Stella was formed in 2017 by the Novotny family in memory of their daughter Stella, who passed away from AML-RAM just after her 4th birthday. Driven by their love for their daughter, the Novotny’s formed Project Stella to give more children the opportunity to survive.

Project Stella is led by Dr. Soheil Meshinchi at Fred Hutch Cancer Center in partnership with other families impacted by this devastating disease. We do not have any paid employees and 100% of all donations go to this vital research.

Donations can be made to Fred Hutch Cancer Center (501c3 non-profit) which are then assigned to Project Stella.

The Funding Problem

Pediatric AML is tremendously underfunded and under researched, leaving young children with few options. Treatment protocols are tailored to adults and fail to accurately address the unique subtypes of pediatric cancer.  Please help us spread awareness and raise funding.  We can do better.  We have to do better.

Why have only 3 new drugs been approved for pediatric cancer in over 30 YEARS?

  • Because the market for pediatric therapies is smaller than that of adults, it doesn't incentivize private industry and pharmaceutical companies to invest. Basically, there isn't enough of a monetary payoff for pharma.

  • With less incentive for private industry to invest in pediatric research, the roles of philanthropies and the federal government become critical for childhood drug development.

  • Federal research dollars allocate only 4% of all cancer research dollars toward childhood cancer. Only 4%!   Moreover, funding is typically awarded based on ranking of research proposals and reach, regardless of specific disease and need. As a result, 'rare' forms of pediatric cancer are overlooked ("Translating Discovery into Cures for Children with Cancer," American Cancer Society).

It is because of this that private funding is so crucial in finding cures for aggressive forms of childhood cancer, like those being researched at Fred Hutch Cancer Center for Project Stella.   All donations go straight to the Meshinchi Lab for Project Stella research!  

Meet the Families Impacted by AML