• Press Release
    • For Immediate Release


  • Media Contact:
    • Traci Johnson
    • 626.792.8247 ext. 250
    • traci@stbaldricks.org

Childhood Cancer Research Grant Given in Honor of Massachusetts Child

Newburyport, Mass. – The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, is proud to announce the Super Soph’s Pediatric Cancer Research St. Baldrick’s Hero Fund, created in honor of Sophie Rossi from Newburyport, Mass., will support lifesaving childhood cancer research at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Dr. Samuel John, assistant instructor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center, was granted a $97,500 St. Baldrick’s Fellow award, supported by the Super Soph’s Pediatric Cancer Research Hero Fund. He plans to use the funding to continue developing a new treatment strategy that re-engineers the body’s own T cells to specifically kill AML cancer cells, through a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR).

More than half of children diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) will die from this disease, and early research has found that CAR T cells are effectively able to kill leukemia cells. Dr. John is hoping to discover ways to improve CAR T cells, with the goal of bringing a new therapy to families and kids with AML, improving patients’ outcome.

“During Sophie’s treatment, it was discouraging to learn that the drugs used in her treatment protocol were decades old and, often times, had been developed to treat AML in adults,” said Anthony and Kallie Rossi. “We know how different pediatric AML is and how underfunded the research is for pediatric cancers in general. We feel honored that our family and friends have remembered Sophie by helping us raise enough money to fund a St. Baldrick’s grant this year. We are hopeful that Dr. John’s research to develop a CAR T cell to target monocytic AML, which is the type of AML that Sophie had, will lead to more effective, less harsh treatment options for other children who are battling AML.”

The Super Soph’s Pediatric Cancer Research Hero Fund was created in memory of 18-month old Sophie, who was diagnosed with AML at 3 months old, and lost her battle to the disease only 15 months later. She endured multiple rounds of chemotherapy and two bone marrow transplants during her 15-month battle with childhood cancer. Although Sophie spent most of her life in a hospital room, she brought smiles and joy to everyone she encountered. This Hero Fund honors Sophie’s spunky spirit through funding research that aims to find a cure for AML, and all childhood cancers.

Since 2015, thisSt. Baldrick’s Hero Fund has raised more than $55,000 to support the most promising childhood cancer research and give survivors long and healthy lives. St. Baldrick’s Hero Funds are an ongoing way for friends, family members and groups to donate or raise funds to honor a loved one. To learn more about the program visit the St. Baldrick’s Hero Fund page.

About St. Baldrick’s Foundation
As the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation is leading the charge to take childhood back from cancer. St. Baldrick’s funds some of the most brilliant childhood cancer research experts who are working to find cures and better treatments for all childhood cancers. Kids need treatments as unique as they are – and that starts with funding research just for them. Join us at StBaldricks.org to help support the best childhood cancer research, no matter where it takes place.