CureSearch for Children's Cancer funds and supportstargeted and innovative children's cancer research with measurableresults, and is the authoritative source of information and resourcesfor all those affected by children's cancer.
CureSearch for Children’s Cancer takes great pride in using the money it receives wisely and efficiently. More than 90% of every dollar received goes to support children's cancer research and educational resources for parents and families. CureSearch’s efficiency consistently meets or exceeds the standards set by Charity Navigator. We work hard to maximize the dollars raised while keeping our overhead low.
Click here to see the Foundation’s recent annual reports and audited financial statements.
CureSearch is grateful to all of the individuals, corporations and foundations who donated their resources to make treatment possible and a cure probable during 2011. Through your generosity, 2011 was the Foundation's most successful year both in number of supporters and private money raised. This outpouring of support was matched by significant advances in research and the creation of new resources for parents and families. Some highlights from the year include the following, which were supported in part or in full by CureSearch for Children's Cancer.
An international team of investigators, led by John M. Maris, MD, director, Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia performed the largest-ever series of genetic studies of neuroblastoma. By studying over 4,000 patients, they discovered a dozen genes influencing neuroblastoma development, a remarkable achievement since none were previously known.Armed with this information, researchers will now conduct studies to understand how such genetic changes create an increased risk for cancer.
In a study funded by the Scott Carter Foundation at a CureSearch-affiliated laboratory, researchers at Oregon Health & Science University, Doernbecher Children's Hospital defined the cell-of-origin for rhabdomyosarcoma, or muscle cancer. In the journal Cancer Cell, the authors reported that childhood and adult sarcomas are linked in their biology, mutations, and cells from which these tumors first start. These findings may lead to non-chemotherapy medicines that can inhibit "molecular targets" such as growth factor receptors, which would stop or eliminate the disease.
A Phase III study conducted by the Children's Oncology Group and funded in part by CureSearch and the National Cancer Institute led to new treatment standards for patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The randomized Phase III trial demonstrated improved five year, relapse-free survival of 82% when using methotrexate in high doses in children and young adults, as opposed to 75% for patients on an escalating methotrexate regime. Enrollment was halted early as a result, and certain patients were then eligible to receive the high dose methotrexate regimen off protocol.
Through philanthropic donations from individuals, foundation, and corporations, CureSearch continues to support clinical trials and also funds basic and translational research that offers the greatest potential to design treatments and improve outcomes for children with difficult-to-treat cancers.
The Aflac Foundation once again provided support for Young Investigators with an emphasis on adolescents and young adults (AYA) with cancer. Selected from numerous outstanding proposals, Anne H. Blaes, MD was this year's Aflac Young Investigator in AYA Oncology. A medical oncologist at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Blaes' research project is entitled "Vascular Assessment in Young Adult Survivors of Testicular Cancer,"and she is studying markers of vascular injury that may occur through exposure to cisplatin, a commonly used chemotherapeutic medication.
This year, CureSearch contributed $5.5 million to Children's Oncology Group for therapeutic clinical trials and research in the following cancer types and discipline areas:
The Jeff Gordon Foundation once again worked with CureSearch to support the Children's Oncology Group's Long Term Follow-Up Center at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California. The Center was created because changes in therapies and increased numbers of long-term survivors have mandated the need to better understand and improve long-term effects of treatment. Cumulatively, data gathered allows researchers to compare long-term health histories to treatment protocols, adding to the knowledge of both the short- and long-term complications of cancer and its related treatment.
CureSearch provided funding to the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) for the Pediatric Cancer Translational Genomics conference. As part of the sponsorship, CureSearch supported the attendance of 10 researchers at the conference, which provided an opportunity for leading cancer researchers working to uncover the causes of children's cancer to discuss how genomic research can be applied to better develop diagnostic tools and treatments for children's cancers.
What Would Willie Want? The Quad W Foundation, founded in memory of Dallas native Willie Tichenor, who died of osteosarcoma in 2006 at age 19, has been funding research to improve the cataloging, quality assessment, and annotation of osteosarcoma tumor samples stored in the COG's centralized tissue bank. This project achieve such success – increasing clinical annotation from less than 5% to more than 90% - that Quad W renewed its commitment and CureSearch secured additional donations so that it has now been expanded to include all sarcomas.
After the death of Rett Nearburg, who lost his 11-year battle with Ewing sarcoma at age 21, the Charles E. Nearburg Foundation created Rett's Initiative at CureSearch for Children's Cancer to honor Rett's life by providing funds to researchers at the Cancer Center at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center who are developing a pipeline of drugs to treat Ewing sarcoma. To do so, they are making available, worldwide, a panel of Ewing Family of Tumors (EFT) cell lines and xenografts for preclinical testing; have shown that a novel formulation of liposomal irinotecan, known as MM-398, demonstrates strong activity against human Ewing tumors in mice; and are identifying and testing molecular targets and drugs that impact them.
The Children's Oncology Group's Family Handbook for Children with Cancer, Second Edition became available to families this year, free of charge, through COG member hospitals. This newly-updated resource provides parents and families with information about children's cancer and the many tests, procedures, and treatments involved in caring for a child with cancer and was developed by a task force of Children's Oncology Group nurses and funded by philanthropic contributions to CureSearch for Children's Cancer.
The Humana Foundation provided CureSearch with a grant to translate clinical care guidelines about survivorship from physician-oriented language into lay terminology for the thousands of young adults – and their families – who have lived through cancer treatment.