Research

Research Outcomes: Your Dollars at Work

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
August 8, 2022

Read on to learn about some of the research that – thanks to you – is changing the world of childhood cancer care.

lab equipment with text Research Outcomes

A Key Gene Is Turned On In Most Cancer Types

St. Baldrick’s Fellow Dr. Jessica Tsai and colleagues discovered that a gene called FOXR2 that is normally turned off in most tissues is activated in at least 70% of cancer types. Their study, recently published in Cancer Research, may help researchers understand how cancer develops. For instance, they found that osteosarcoma shows FOXR2 expression and that FOXR2 boosts the growth rate of brain tumors, including diffuse midline gliomas. There is still a lot to learn about how the gene is activated and they are already working to figure out how to target this gene with new treatments.

Did you see it? Dr. Tsai was featured on a recent Impact Series – watch it here

Developing CAR T Cells Faster

CAR T cell therapy is a type of immunotherapy, fighting cancer with a patient’s own altered immune cells. A new approach from researchers including St. Baldrick’s Scholar Dr. Saba Ghassemi, has drastically cut the time it takes to alter patients’ immune cells for infusion back into the body to find and attack cancer. This process typically takes 9-14 days, but as shown in a recent publication in Nature Biomedical Engineering, Dr. Ghassemi and colleagues generated functional CAR T cells in just 24 hours. This demonstrates the potential for a substantial reduction in the time, materials, and labor required to generate CAR T cells, which could be especially beneficial in patients with rapidly progressive disease and in resource-poor healthcare environments.

Potential New Drug For Ewing Sarcoma

Results from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation Martha’s BEST Grant for All were presented at the recent American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Special Conference. This research showed that when tested in models, a new drug candidate was 25 times stronger than current FDA approved drugs in trials for Ewing sarcoma treatment. “These newly presented in-vitro data suggest promising activity for our novel kt-3000 series drug candidates as a potential treatment for Ewing sarcoma and other treatment-resistant cancers,” said St. Baldrick’s supported researcher Mads Daugaard, PhD.

The St. Baldrick’s Martha’s BEST Grant for All is funded through an anonymous $1 million donation aimed at developing new treatments for Ewing sarcoma, an aggressive bone and soft tissue cancer in children and young adults. This grant is named for a special teenager who passed away from Ewing sarcoma.

Recent FDA Approval

The FDA recently approved the combination of 2 targeted drugs for the treatment of adults and children ages 6 years or older with nearly any type of advanced solid tumor that has a specific mutation in a gene called BRAF. This mutation can increase the growth and spread of cancer cells. Results from three clinical trials, including one with pediatric patients, laid the groundwork for the approval. Data from the pediatric trial was also used to adapt the use of Trametinib in a phase 2 trial for pediatric patients with relapsed or refractory Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia (JMML). The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is providing support for this JMML phase 2 COG study, and we are eager to see results from this trial.

Not every publication of research supported by St. Baldrick’s makes the news, but each one adds to the body of scientific knowledge that takes us one step closer to better outcomes for kids with cancer. Your continued support will make more research possible to Conquer Kids’ Cancer.

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Kids with Cancer

Meet the RED Sparkle Octopus Crusaders & Their Inspiration 

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
March 18, 2022

by David Gosser, team captain and dad

The RED Sparkle Octopus Crusaders (RSOC) Team honors four children – Nina, Tommy, Amaya, and Kristina – who met in 2005, while in treatment at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters (CHKD) in Norfolk, Virginia. They started shaving individually in 2005/06 and formed the original team in 2009; this version came together in 2014. Other families affected by childhood cancer and dozens of good friends have joined the team’s efforts over the years. Since inception, the RSOC have raised over $380,000 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. They remain fully committed to funding research to create cures, united by the hope that they are helping other kids and families find better outcomes. The team’s name is a combined tribute to the memories of the four Angels.

Photo collage of Nina, Tommy, Amaya, and Kristina

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Facts

Battle Osteosarcoma Funds $1.35 Million in Research: Honoring Charlotte, Dylan and Tyler

by Becky C. Weaver, Chief Mission Officer, St. Baldrick's Foundation
July 30, 2021

Two years ago, a group of three dedicated moms rallied some dear friends to achieve what seemed like an ambitious goal to support osteosarcoma research. As you’ll see below, they knocked that one out of the park!

Battle Osteosarcoma volunteers holding a check for $1,350,000Battle Osteosarcoma volunteers set out to raise $150,000, then raised more than $1.3 million!

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Facts

What Is Sarcoma?

by Jeffrey Toretsky, M.D.
June 30, 2021

what is sarcoma

Dr. Jeffrey Toretsky is a St. Baldrick’s researcher at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C. He explains what sarcoma is, how it’s diagnosed and treated, and how research is helping kids and adults with this type of cancer.

What is sarcoma?

A sarcoma is a bumpy tumor that occurs in the connective tissues (nerves, muscles and bones) anywhere in the body.

Sarcomas are rare, especially in young children. In kids between 10 and 20, sarcomas make up about 20-25% of childhood cancer diagnoses.

Sarcomas can start off being tiny lumps that you can’t feel. They can spread through the body, or metastasize, before they grow big enough to be seen.

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Research

Discoveries that Shift Paradigms with Dr. Poul Sorensen

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
March 23, 2020

St. Baldrick’s is all about shifting paradigms. When three men decided to shave heads at their industry’s March 17, 2000 St. Patrick’s Day party, they didn’t set out to change the landscape of childhood cancer research funding. But today the St. Baldrick’s Foundation is the largest non-government funder of childhood cancer research grants.

Twenty years later, the paradigm shifts keep coming, and Poul Sorensen, MD, PhD has been a part of several of them. Last month we joined some very special guests on a visit to his lab at the University of British Columbia, where he is a Professor of Pathology and holds the Johal Endowed Chair in Childhood Cancer Research.

two doctors Dr. Poul Sorensen (right) with his Co-Principal Investigator, Dr. Mads Daugaard (left).

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Childhood Cancer

St. Baldrick’s Researcher Uncovers Promising New Compound That Kills Ewing Sarcoma

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
March 12, 2018

Ewing Sarcoma Research Development

What happens when you give a researcher funding and freedom to follow the science?

Breakthroughs.

Just ask the Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award winner Dr. Kimberly Stegmaier. For her, that powerful combination of funding and freedom led to the discovery of a promising combination of molecules that could change the lives of kids with Ewing sarcoma, the second most common bone cancer found in children.

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Facts

What Is Ewing Sarcoma?

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
March 9, 2018

What is Ewing sarcoma?


Jason Yustein, M.D., Ph.D., a St. Baldrick’s Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, explains Ewing sarcoma symptoms, treatment options, and research opportunities.

What is Ewing sarcoma?

Ewing sarcoma is a type of childhood cancer that is most frequently found in children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 20 years old.

Ewing sarcoma — the second most common bone cancer after osteosarcoma — often originates in the long, large bones of the body, including the hip, thigh, shin, chest, and arm bones.

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Families

Happy Birthday, Alyssa’s Leg!

by Michella Zoll
December 16, 2016

Ambassador Alyssa celebrates two birthdays every year — one for herself, and one for her leg. Today, the anniversary of Alyssa’s first big surgery for childhood cancer, her mom remembers that day and shares how far Alyssa has come.

ambassador alyssa and her family

A joyful Alyssa is cradled by (left to right) her mom Michella, sister Kalie, dad Harold, and brother Jacob.

Someone recently asked me why December 16 is hugely significant to us as a family.

It’s the day my 11-year-old daughter Alyssa had a major surgery that changed her life forever.

It’s the day my sweet girl got a new leg.

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Facts

What Is Proton Therapy?

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
June 20, 2016

What is Proton Therapy

Dr. Ralph Ermoian is a radiation oncologist and St. Baldrick’s infrastructure grant recipient at the University of Washington. He explains what proton therapy is, how it works, and how this treatment is helping kids and adults with cancer.

What is proton therapy?

Proton therapy is a type of radiation used commonly for children with cancer. Like traditional x-ray radiation, it is used to treat cancers, but proton therapy affects less of the healthy tissue surrounding the tumor.

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Kids with Cancer

Meet Alyssa

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
January 5, 2016

One morning in the summer of 2013, Alyssa awoke to discover she couldn’t walk. The pain was intense and persistent. What her family thought was growing pains continued beyond that morning and into the next and the next.

Ambassador Alyssa

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