On World Cancer Day, we recognize that childhood cancer knows no borders, and we celebrate that St. Baldrick’s Foundation donors and volunteers are making a difference for kids around the world.
The volunteers who make up the St. Baldrick’s Foundation certainly “think different” when raising money for childhood cancer research. And thinking outside the box was a trademark of the late great Dr. Bob Arceci – a St. Baldrick’s shavee, board member and world-renowned researcher.
In his memory, the St. Baldrick’s Robert J. Arceci Innovation Awards were created. The goal was to give doctors the freedom and flexibility to think outside the box – to explore avenues that may have been left unexplored otherwise. The grants are unrestricted, making them unique in cancer research. And they are big awards, at $250,000 a year for 3 years.
The first class of researchers to receive these innovation awards began in 2016. Dr. Charles Mullighan, from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital received the North America award, and Dr. Sam Behjati, from Wellcome Sanger Institute in the U.K., received the International award. Read on to find out where they are now:
That’s how Dr. Olivier Ayrault described the loss of two school friends to cancer when he was growing up. The experience left an indelible imprint on him and he believes set his course in life to do something to fight cancer.
The entire childhood cancer community knew that when it came to honoring the legacy of Robert J. Arceci, M.D., Ph.D., only something extraordinary would do.
Known for thinking outside the box and his passion for finding cures, Bob was something of a Renaissance man – treating patients, conducting lab research, editing research publications, creating a PBS documentary on childhood, serving as board member and chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee for St. Baldrick’s and much more.Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award recipient, Dr. Paul A. Northcott of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Dr. Sam Behjati is a highly respected expert, based in the UK, who is doing cutting-edge pediatric cancer research. He’s the first-ever recipient of the Robert J. Arceci International Innovation Award from St. Baldrick’s, having received the grant in 2016. And he’s been laser-focused on finding the developmental origins of childhood cancers, including cells that might predict cancer in children, specifically in the kidneys.
But, in a recent interview to share his findings for the first time since winning the award, a surprising word came up a few times from Dr. Behjati: “wacko.”
“What the award has done is completely liberated me, to take a plausible idea and come up with the experiment and have the ability to stick out my neck and take a chance with wacko research.”Dr. Sam Behjati credits St. Baldrick’s Robert J. Arceci International Innovation Award with allowing him the freedom and flexibility to think outside the box.
“Same old, same old … doesn’t count.” Bob Arceci didn’t think that old methods were going to tackle pediatric cancers. As you can hear him talk about in this video, he was looking for new ideas, for thinking that wasn’t just “out of the box,” but never really in the box in the first place.Drs. Shlien and Daugaard accept the Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award.
Today, Feb. 15, 2019, marks this year’s International Childhood Cancer Day.
While the St. Baldrick’s Foundation might be thought of as just an American organization, the fact is that the research we fund has global reach – so we thought that we’d share a few snapshots of just how global our organization really is, and how our funding and your support are making a true impact for kids with cancer throughout the world.
Just over three years ago, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation created its Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award. Designed to give innovative childhood cancer researchers unfettered freedom to explore, it has become one of the most unique and impactful initiatives in pediatric cancer funding.
Today, St. Baldrick’s is pleased to announce that Dr. Laura Broutier of Lyon, France, is the newest recipient of the award.
Dr. Laura Broutier of Lyon, France, the newest recipient of the Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award.
Pediatric oncologist and scientist Dr. Alex Kentsis isn’t afraid to dig into what makes childhood cancer tick, especially if his hard work results in better treatments for kids with cancer. That’s why he’s our newest winner of the St. Baldrick’s 2018 Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award — a unique three-year, $250,000 grant that gives researchers the freedom to follow the science, without the restrictions of traditional grants. Read on to learn about the innovative work he’s already doing for kids with cancer and how the Arceci award will move his promising research forward.
Dr. Alex Kentsis is a pediatric oncologist and scientist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a father of two and the newest Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award winner. Unlike traditional grants which come with restrictions and are specific and constrained in their scope, this three-year, $250,000 grant allows researchers the freedom and flexibility to follow their passion for kids’ cancer research, their curiosity and the science, wherever it leads.
Dr. Kentsis is a big fan of asking, ‘Why?’ – especially when it comes to the fundamental nature of childhood cancer. Unlike adults, kids haven’t had time to damage their DNA. They haven’t aged, smoked or stayed out in the sun too long — so why do they get cancer?
What happens when you give a researcher funding and freedom to follow the science?
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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