TAMPA, Fla. (May 28, 2014) — The Pediatric Cancer Foundation (PCF) held its annual Sunshine Project Retreat for approximately 50 of the country’s leading pediatric cancer research investigators and coordinators on May 22 and 23 at the Westin Tampa Bay in Tampa.
At the Retreat, researchers from Moffitt Cancer Center; Connecticut Children’s Medical Center; University of Florida; Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles; Sylvester Cancer Center, University of Miami and nine other leading institutions presented groundbreaking ideas for new research projects and clinical trials aimed at treating and curing pediatric cancer.
Presentations included such topics as the Sunshine Project’s tumor bank, which will allow for coordinated research efforts across the country of rare and interesting tumors; trials for adoptive cellular therapy for malignant brain tumors in children; and trials for a new type of medication based on DNA to manipulate the immune system to destroy cancer.
“This Retreat helps get everyone on the same page, clarifies our goals, builds momentum and sets the agenda for the next year,” said Sunshine Project Lead Investigator Damon Reed, M.D., who works at Moffitt Cancer Center and All Children’s Hospital in Tampa Bay. “It’s also a great opportunity for these researchers to network, learn, collaborate and take things back to their institutions they may not have thought of before.”
In the coming months, the Pediatric Cancer Foundation, along with a Sunshine Project committee, will decide which of the research projects and clinical trials presented at the Retreat will receive funding. Leaders expect to begin funding at least five research projects by August and two clinical trials in the next 12 months.
The Sunshine Project, funded exclusively by PCF, is a business model unlike any other in the field of pediatric cancer research. This consortium of the nation’s top doctors and researchers from 14 institutions throughout the U.S. has launched five Phase 1 clinical trials in just eight years.
“The Sunshine Project capitalizes on the strengths of researchers and pediatric oncologists around the country,” said PCF Executive Director Nancy Crane. “We have streamlined the process of protocol development in the hopes of delivering more targeted, less toxic therapies to children with cancer. The goal of PCF is to fund childhood cancer research, because we know that’s the only way to find a cure.”
Sunshine Project investigators perform three vital phases of research simultaneously: basic science, translational research and clinical trials. These major research components not only allow doctors to identify new agents in fighting cancer, but also help researchers understand the cancer cells’ response to certain treatments.
—PEDIATRIC CANCER FOUNDATION—
With its national headquarters in Tampa, the Pediatric Cancer Foundation (PCF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding research to eliminate childhood cancer. Its focus is to find less toxic, more targeted therapies by partnering with leading hospitals nationwide. For more information on PCF, go to www.fastercure.org. For more information on the Cut for a Cure event, go to www.pcfcutforacure.org.
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