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Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) is furthering its commitment to finding cures for all kids with cancer by introducing the ALSF Centers of Excellence program. Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Center is one of the first three institutions to be named as a Center of Excellence and will receive funding of $350,000 per year, renewable annually for up to five years for a total of $1.75 million. The other recipients are Baylor College of Medicine and the University of California San Francisco.
The Centers of Excellence program aims to fund the research of leading childhood cancer institutions committed to developing and conducting early phase clinical trials, building on an already extensive grants program dedicated to finding better treatments and ultimately cures for all kids with cancer. The purpose of the new program is threefold: to facilitate the evolution of new therapeutic concepts from the pre-clinical arena into fully developed clinical trials; to rapidly and efficiently conduct phase I and phase II trials of highly innovative therapies; and to train individuals in the field of developmental therapeutics and cancer pharmacology.
"Since inception with our daughter's front yard lemonade stand, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation has always been dedicated to moving childhood cancer research forward," said Jay Scott, Alex's dad and co-executive director of the Foundation. "Whether it was through motivating promising young researchers to join the field of oncology, or filling the gaps where funding was missing, the Foundation has continued to evolve and will now work toward backing the next generation of leaders in the pediatric cancer field."
Unlike the other ALSF grant programs, the Centers of Excellence applicants were chosen by the Foundation and invited to apply for funding. Those chosen will utilize half of the funds to enhance clinical trial infrastructure and half to support the training of scholars in drug development, allowing the clinical trial program to grow in the field of pediatric oncology.
"We are very thankful to ALSF for this award, and very excited for this unique opportunity to help lead the field of experimental therapeutics," said Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, MD, who will oversee the Physician Scholars Training component of the grant at Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Center. "Through this proposal, we will train and support two outstanding young investigators in the fields of cell and developmental therapeutics; helping us to continue to advance the development of better treatments for our children and conduct cutting-edge clinical research."
"We are grateful to ALSF for this funding, which will enable us to fulfill our mission to offer children with cancer improved access to novel therapeutic agents, by increasing the number, variety, and the impact of clinical trials at our center," said Wendy London, PhD, the principal investigator for the Clinical Research Infrastructure component of the grant at Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Center. "We know which children have the greatest need for better treatments. We'll use the ALSF funding for expert staff and efficient systems to conduct clinical research and overcome obstacles."
Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) emerged from the front yard lemonade stand of cancer patient Alexandra "Alex" Scott (1996-2004). With the vision of finding a cure for all childhood cancers, Alex set out to hold lemonade stands to raise funds to do just that. A decade later, the Foundation bearing her name funds both medical and nursing research which aims to not only find better treatments and cures for all childhood cancers, but to improve the quality of care and life for children and their families fighting the disease now. To date, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 charity, has raised more than $60 million toward fulfilling Alex's dream of finding a cure, funding over 250 research projects nationally, including those examining leukemia, brain tumors, neuroblastoma, Wilm's tumor, lymphoma, and osteosarcoma, among others.