A ‘Meeting of the Minds’ to Look to the Future for Kids With Cancer

by Becky C. Weaver, Chief Mission Officer, St. Baldrick's Foundation
November 7, 2016

What happens when a group of experts come together to discuss developments in childhood cancer research and advocacy? Some inspiring conversations about new data, drugs and therapies, important childhood cancer legislation, and more — all to make sure we’re making the best investments with YOUR donations. Get the scoop on our 2016 Research and Advocacy Priorities Summit below.

St. Baldrick's 2016 Research and Advocacy Priorities Summit

Every couple of years, St. Baldrick’s brings together our experts to take stock of what we’re doing now, and to look to the future of childhood cancer research. We examine what we are doing well, what we can do better, and what we need to do to help kids with cancer not only survive, but thrive.

We call this meeting our Research and Advocacy Priorities Summit, and essentially, it’s a gut check. As the largest source of non-government grants for childhood cancer research, putting our priorities under a microscope is our responsibility to our volunteers, supporters, and the childhood cancer community.

So, on a recent rainy weekend in New York, St. Baldrick’s brought together childhood cancer experts, representatives from the drug and therapy development industry, and government representatives in this “meeting of the minds” that will help guide our strategic plan for research and advocacy.

With 30 thought leaders in attendance — including almost every member of our Scientific Advisory Committee and five board members — this was our largest summit to date. And with so much happening in research since our last Summit, there was a lot to talk about.

Some of the research topics we covered:

  1. Data sharing and how we can interpret that data to help patients
  2. Precision medicine, or how we can tailor treatment to individual patients
  3. The challenges of developing new drugs and therapies
  4. The government’s role in pediatric cancer research progress
  5. The progress and challenges of immunotherapy
  6. International research and how we can help increase the global survival rate of kids with cancer

How Immunotherapy Saved Phineas' Life
Our advocacy team discussed our current legislative priorities, including the STAR Act, and how advocacy can help influence and create policies that benefit kids with cancer. We even brainstormed ways the group could become more involved in St. Baldrick’s advocacy program, including joining our Speak Up network.

We covered a lot of ground during that weekend, but one encouraging message came through loud and clear from all attendees: that by training and supporting young investigators, St. Baldrick’s is doing something vital for the future of childhood cancer research. We’re ensuring that there will be researchers and oncologists dedicating their lives to finding cures for kids with cancer far into the future.

Looking back on this heartening, enlightening, and invigorating meeting in New York, it was encouraging to hear from the experts that St. Baldrick’s is on the right track.

It was also exciting to explore how we can continue to fund the highest-quality research with the greatest opportunity to help kids with cancer. We are grateful to all the attendees and our moderators for their hard work, time, and contribution to an amazing Summit.

Now, we look forward to taking what we learned to further improve our research and advocacy programs, to give children their best hope for cures and healthy futures.

We take care to invest each donor dollar wisely. Give to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and help fund the highest-quality research to find cures for kids with cancer.


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