The research funded by the Caroline Symmes Endowment is centered around learning more about pediatric Non-CNS Solid Tumors. This means tumors in children which occur outside the central nervous system (CNS) in places like bone, muscle, and vital organs. According to Dr. Jamie Renbarger, Section Chief of Hematology/Oncology at the Riley Children’s Health, these tumors are often the most aggressive, yet research into how to cure them is almost nonexistent.
“We do a good job of curing around 70% of pediatric cancers, but in around 30% of cases we really exhaust our options with chemo,” Dr. Renbarger explains. “30% sounds like a lot, but really that might only be four or five thousand kids across the US. With so little funding for pediatric cancer research set aside at the federal level to begin with, it’s the sad reality that these diseases are really never researched.” That is, until we began our endowment and teamed up with Riley.
Dr. Renbarger entered the research lab when she saw the pressing need for physician investigators who truly understand the diseases under scrutiny. Her hope for the inquiry funded by the Caroline Symmes Endowment is high.
“The work supported by this foundation is really aligned with game changing science across all cancer research,” she says. “This is really going to change how we care for kids with cancer, and how we classify pediatric cancers.” This gene-focused research will enable physicians to begin categorizing tumors based on what’s causing the cancers, rather than simply where they are located in the body, which is the current common practice. Who knows-that change could spread across the field of medicine, if the funds endure to support the researchers.
With every dollar donated to the Caroline Symmes Endowment, we open the door to a further $10m in government funding. Our ultimate goal is simple: raised $8m in seed funding in order to open the door to the additional government funding and set up Riley researchers to succeed in our pediatric cancer research mission. 18 of the researchers on staff at Riley have received bridge grants from private endowments like ours to fund their research. Of that 18, eight have then received grants from the NIH, bringing in a total of $13m additional support for their programs.