• Press Release
  • For Immediate Release
  • Media Contact:
    • Michele Franco
    • 626.792.8247 ext. 264
    • michele.franco@stbaldricks.org

Promising Grant for Childhood Cancer Research Given in Honor of Oak Forest Teen

Oak Forest, Ill. – The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest non-government funder of childhood cancer research grants, is proud to announce Julia’s Legacy of Hope, a St. Baldrick’s Hero Fund, created in honor of Julia Janes from Oak Forest, Ill., will support two lifesaving childhood cancer research grants.

Dr. Ramon Sun at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., and Dr. Lynn Lee at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio are both named “Julia’s Legacy of Hope St. Baldrick’s Scholars.”

Dr. Sun’s grant funds promising research aimed to understand the reason behind a large sugar molecule accumulation in Ewing sarcoma and to exploit the deposits as a possible drug target for Ewing sarcoma treatment. In the new era of personalized medicine, Ewing sarcoma still relies on decades-old chemotherapy options, where aggressive treatments are met with poor disease outcomes.

One of the key observations of Ewing sarcoma made in the 1930s is the accumulation of a large amount of glycogen, a sugar molecule that our body uses to store energy. Only specific organs such as the liver and muscle are capable of producing glycogen. The ability of Ewing sarcoma tumors to store large amounts of glycogen has been forgotten until now. Dr. Sun’s research brings new hope to this century-old disease by facilitating the development of new treatments for Ewing sarcoma.

Dr. Lee’s grant funds promising research for a new therapy for a type of leukemia that is difficult to treat and often relapses despite chemotherapy treatment.

There is a type of leukemia which occurs mainly in infants, but also in children who have previously received chemotherapy for an unrelated cancer. This type of leukemia is extremely difficult to treat and often comes back despite chemotherapy. Dr. Lee’s research has shown evidence that this leukemia relies on a protein which influences how leukemia cells interpret their DNA–the ‘blueprint’ for essential functions within the cell. Through his studies, he has been able to show that this protein can be blocked by a chemical inhibitor and his work is now focused on studying a drug that can accomplish this. Dr. Lee’s research could potentially lead to a new therapy for this class of leukemias.

“We keep working with St. Baldrick’s because it is our best chance of making Julia’s wish and the wish of other cancer families come true,” said Julia’s parents, Jeff and Leslie Janes. “We have seen and heard from too many children, teens and young adults who struggle to survive. Julia was such an amazing person and her memory and spirit not only inspire us but inspire our supporters to continue to contribute to Julia’s Legacy of Hope Hero Fund. We feel proud to have this support, it helps us move forward towards a more positive future for the children, teens and young adults who battle cancer every day.”

Julia’s Legacy of Hope is a St. Baldrick’s Hero Fund which honors Julia’s positive and courageous spirit and carries out her last wish: “no child should have to go through what I have experienced.” Diagnosed at age 16 with Ewing sarcoma, Julia fought cancer and survived only to be stricken in college with acute myeloid leukemia, a secondary cancer as a result of treatment she received. Through this Hero Fund, the Janes family hopes to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer research including but not limited to Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) patients.

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
Every 2 minutes a child somewhere in the world is diagnosed with cancer. In the U.S., 1 in 5 will not survive. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest non-government funder of childhood cancer research grants, is on a mission to give kids a lifetime by supporting the most promising research to find cures and better treatments for all childhood cancers. When you give to St. Baldrick’s, you don’t just give to one hospital – you support virtually every institution with the expertise to treat kids with cancer across the U.S. St. Baldrick’s ensures that children fighting cancer now — and those diagnosed in the future — will have access to the most cutting-edge treatment, by supporting every stage of research, from new ideas in the lab to the development of new therapies, to lifesaving clinical trials. Join us at StBaldricks.org and help #GiveKidsaLifetime.

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