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.
July is Sarcoma Month, and since this is a disease that so often strikes children, teens and young adults, St. Baldrick’s supports a great deal of sarcoma research.
Only about 1% of cancers diagnosed in adults are sarcomas, but they make up 20-25% of cancers between the age of 10 and 20. The most common are osteosarcoma (bone tumors), Ewing sarcoma (bone or soft tissue tumors) and rhabdomyosarcoma (muscle tumors).
Dr. Alejandro Sweet-Cordero is one of many St. Baldrick’s grant recipients tackling sarcomas, and his funding was made possible by our donors in a unique way.
It might seem that Department of Defense technology that’s used to detect explosives might not have any use in diagnosing childhood cancers. But, if you ask St. Baldrick’s Foundation “Rockstar Researcher” Dr. Bruce Shiramizu, this technology has real potential to help patients, parents, caregivers, and the cancer community.
It’s why this Hawaii-based doctor, who has worked on the mainland at the University of California San Francisco and at the National Institutes of Health, is so passionate about his research work and what it might be able to do for children throughout the world. This veteran researcher has shaved his head multiple times for St. Baldrick’s – that’s one definition of a “Rockstar Researcher” – and his body of work speaks volumes.