Facts

A Peek Behind the Scenes: The St. Baldrick’s Grant and Scientific Review Process

by Becky C. Weaver, Chief Mission Officer, St. Baldrick's Foundation
December 18, 2017
St. Baldrick's researchers

Top: St. Baldrick’s researcher Akiko Shimamura (left) in her lab with a colleague at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. During her St. Baldrick’s-supported study, Dr. Shimamura studied a rare group of inherited bone marrow disorders that are associated with heightened risk of cancer. Bottom: Based at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, St. Baldrick’s researcher Scott Kachlany tested a new therapeutic agent for kids with ALL during his St. Baldrick’s-supported study.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation makes a bold statement: We support the most promising childhood cancer research, wherever it takes place.  And because we grant more childhood cancer research than any non-government funder, it’s crucial that those dollars go to the right projects. But how do we pick the right projects?

Rising to that challenge is a widely respected grant application and scientific review process created by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

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Families

Researcher Works to Crack the DIPG Code with Help from McKenna Claire

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
December 15, 2017
McKenna Claire was 7 years old when she was diagnosed with DIPG

McKenna Claire was 7 years old when she was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor called DIPG. The McKenna Claire Foundation was established in her memory and in 2013, St. Baldrick’s partnered with the McKenna Claire Foundation to fund DIPG research, like the work done by Dr. Rameen Beroukhim at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Honored Kid McKenna Claire was bright, spirited, and loved soccer and gymnastics. McKenna was full of grace, joy and grit through it all, even as her childhood cancer progressed and she could no longer run across a soccer field, jump on a trampoline, talk or swallow. She died just six months after her diagnosis with a rare, fatal type of brain tumor called DIPG  – weeks before her birthday. She would have been 8 years old.

Learn more about McKenna and her cancer journey from her mom, Kristine >

Stories like this are why St. Baldrick’s researcher Dr. Rameen Beroukhim studies DIPG, otherwise known as diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. In fact, McKenna’s photograph hangs in his lab.

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Families

Research Saved Ori’s Life

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
December 5, 2017

You helped save a child’s life. Meet Honored Kid Ori. He is in remission, because of a research breakthrough supported by St. Baldrick’s – and generous donors like you. Read on to learn more about this amazing kid and why he and his family are thankful for YOU.

Ori smiles during treatment

Ori amazed his parents with his strength and positive attitude, even after years of treatment.

When Ori’s parents were packing to go to the hospital for the first visit – the first of many – they told the 2-year-old boy that they were going on an adventure.

And that’s how both he and his family have viewed his cancer journey ever since.

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Families

Kymriah’s Journey From Lab to Lifesaver: The Phase 1 Trial [Part Two]

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
November 22, 2017

Over a series of four blogs — read the first blog here — we are tracing the path of Kymriah, a recent immunotherapy and gene therapy breakthrough for kids with high-risk leukemia, like Honored Kid Austin. This 9-year-old pioneer was one of the first patients to receive this revolutionary type of CAR T cell therapy, which was made possible because of the hard work of the St. Baldrick’s – Stand Up To Cancer Dream Team.


Continuing from Part One, Austin’s bone marrow transplant has failed and we find his parents at a dead end in terms of treatment options — until a ray of light appears.

Austin in his hospital bed

During his treatment, Austin always just wanted to be a kid. After finishing a chemotherapy and radiation treatment, he’d often joyfully run out to his backyard to play on the swings.

The options were few and the stakes were huge, but the choice was clear for Austin’s parents. With their 4-year-old son months away from death, they had to choose hope – hope in the form of a clinical trial testing a promising gene therapy called Kymriah.

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Families

Kymriah’s Journey From Lab to Lifesaver: The Phase 1 Trial [Part One]

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
November 21, 2017

Kymriah. For kids with high-risk leukemia, those seven letters spell hope. But what is this lifesaving ‘living drug’? And how did this exciting new therapy come to be? Buckle your seat belts, because today we are starting an epic journey – a journey made possible by St. Baldrick’s supporters like you. Over four blogs, we’ll follow the path of this immunotherapy breakthrough – from the Phase 1 clinical trial to its recent FDA approval — and see the process through the eyes of the kids, families and St. Baldrick’s researchers who made this revolutionary research happen.


In Part One of our blog series, meet St. Baldrick’s Honored Kid Austin, a now 9-year-old cancer survivor whose last chance at life was the first human trial for Kymriah.

Austin wears a face mask

Honored Kid Austin was diagnosed with a high-risk form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia when he was 2 years old.

Kim Schuetz can’t forget the moment she saw the symptoms of her son’s childhood cancer. It was May 2011 and Austin was nearing his third birthday. Austin and his grandpa were playing together when the man noticed something odd. He called Kim over and together they crouched by the living room couch to look at large bumps on the sides of Austin’s neck.

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Research

2017 Infrastructure Grants: Building New Cures for Kids with Cancer

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
November 14, 2017

Time to sip on that hot chocolate, wear your favorite pair of fuzzy socks and cozy up to great news that will warm your heart — and you helped make it happen!

Announcing our 2017 Infrastructure Grants

Today, we are proud to announce the 2017 St. Baldrick’s Infrastructure Grants, totaling $2.2 million awarded to 39 institutions across the United States.

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News

And the International Arceci Award Goes to…

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
October 13, 2017

Usually, we pick one international winner of the Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award, but what happens when there are two equally deserving researchers with big ideas and big hearts for kids with cancer? Read on to find out!

Dr. Franck Bourdeaut and Dr. Jan-Henning Klusmann

After being nominated for the International Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award, (left) Dr. Franck Bourdeaut and (right) Dr. Jan-Henning Klusmann were both selected by a committee of experts and are being presented with the award today at the annual conference for the International Society of Paediatric Oncology.

Dr. Robert Arceci was a passionate innovator who dreamed big. He was a pioneer who knew that kids with cancer deserve better than what doctors can offer them and that breakthroughs are born from taking risks.

That’s why the international winner of the award established in his memory – the Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award – is given the resources and the freedom to follow their curiosity, pioneering spirit, and their passion for kids’ cancer research, wherever it leads.

Except this year, it’s winners of the Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award!

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Research

St. Baldrick’s Scholar Searches for Leukemia’s Weak Spots

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
October 9, 2017

It is said that to defeat an enemy, you must know them — and that’s exactly what St. Baldrick’s Scholar Dr. Grzegorz Nalepa is doing. The enemy? Childhood cancer. His weapon? Genomics — the study of all the genes within an organism, like a human child with cancer for instance. Who is winning? Read on to find out. (Hint, hint…it’s the good guy.)

Dr. Nalepa with a young patient

St. Baldrick’s Scholar Dr. Grzegorz Nalepa amuses a young patient by making her the doctor, instead of him.

For St. Baldrick’s Scholar Dr. Grzegorz Nalepa, childhood cancer treatment can’t be one-size-fits-all. To be successful, it needs to be personal.

That’s why this physician-scientist studies what makes everyone unique, including kids with cancer – genes.

With support from St. Baldrick’s and a deep passion for the field of genomics, Dr. Nalepa is studying how the genetic changes, or mutations, present in kids with leukemia can be exploited to create targeted therapies against that cancer, with few side effects.

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News

Dream Team Discovers Potential New Weapon Against Neuroblastoma

by Becky C. Weaver, Chief Mission Officer, St. Baldrick's Foundation
September 28, 2017

Last week, in the pages of the medical journal Cancer Cell, St. Baldrick’s researchers announced a discovery that could radically transform treatment for kids with neuroblastoma – a new immunotherapy drug candidate that harnesses the immune system to fight cancer.

SBF research development neuroblastoma

Neuroblastoma is a cancer that begins in the nerve tissue outside the brain, usually in a child’s abdomen. It strikes very young children, up to about age 7, and is the most common cancer diagnosed in infants. Only about 50% of patients survive the high-risk form of neuroblastoma.

All of this makes this new targeted immunotherapy for neuroblastoma especially good news, but it gets even better.

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Families

International Scholar in Uganda Gives Kids With Cancer Hope [VIDEO]

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
September 25, 2017

Investing in the next generation of childhood cancer researchers — like researcher and St. Baldrick’s International Scholar Dr. Joseph Lubega – can change the lives of kids with cancer all over the world. Read on (and watch a video shot at the Uganda Cancer Institute) to learn more about the huge impact Dr. Lubega is making on kids with cancer in East Africa.

When Belinda heard, ‘leukemia,’ she was terrified.

She feared cancer. Belinda saw the impact it had on her family. In fact, she’d attended her cousin’s funeral in the spring. But cancer striking her 5-year-old daughter, Christa? How could that happen?

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