Every year, as we sit to write to all of you, we are overwhelmed by what has been accomplished thanks to your participation, donations and advocacy.
Research moves at its own pace. Though there is always advancement, life-changing breakthroughs are more elusive and therefore must be celebrated loudly when they are found.
The FDA’s approval of Kymriah is one of the most exciting developments in the medical world in general and specifically in the childhood cancer community you care so much about. It is the first of its kind, a living drug that has the ability to target only the cancerous cells, leaving normal tissue unharmed during treatment. Given to patients for whom no other treatment options remain, to date, 83% of patients receiving this therapy have gone into remission and two-thirds remain so one year out. More children will live because you contributed to this research.
We also saw a major milestone achieved in our advocacy work when the most comprehensive childhood cancer bill ever to be introduced in Congress passed the House of Representatives. The Survivorship Treatment Access and Research (STAR) Act is a bill that addresses some of the major issues facing the childhood cancer community. The STAR Act was reintroduced this year. We hope Congress will pass it by the time this report is published to help children with cancer both survive and thrive. We urge you to contact your senators and affirm your support of this profoundly important legislation.
Finally, the board voted to begin the process of developing a five-year strategic plan for the St. Baldrick's Foundation. Our intention is to ensure we can continue expanding our ability to fund the very best research, no matter where it is taking place, and to seek out new partners with whom we can work to grow the amount of funds dedicated to childhood cancer research. We look forward to sharing more with you as we continue developing the plan.
Thank you for your commitment to taking childhood back from cancer.
Chairman of the Board
Kathleen M. Ruddy
Chief Executive Officer