The Max Cure Foundation and the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation have partnered to establish a fund in pediatric cancer research. With that goal in mind, the two Foundations are proud to announce the award of $100,000 to Erwin G. Van Meir, Ph.D., of Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. Van Meir's research aims to reprogram Ewing sarcoma using a small molecule that will target the Ewing sarcoma family of tumors (ESFT) oncoprotein.
Ewing sarcoma, a type of cancer that forms in the bone or soft tissue, affects primarily young children and adolescents. Though current treatment options have prolonged five-year survival rates in patients, many face long-term affects from surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, including risk of second cancers from therapy. For patients whose disease has spread to other organs, there's a lack of effective treatment options. In addition, for some survivors, the disease can recur.
Van Meir and his colleagues propose to reprogram the ESFT cancer stem cells using a small molecule known as KCN1, which targets the oncoprotein found in the genetic signature of ESFT. Their research will identify a new class of drugs to induce cell death and stop the proliferation of Ewing sarcoma stem cells.
"Van Meir's research offers patients the real promise of a cure one day by identifying the root cause of cancer and eradicating the cancer stem cell, which falls in line with the mission of the Foundation" said Samuel Waxman, M.D., the Founder and the Scientific Director of the SWCRF.
"My grandson Max, who, on the eve of his fourth birthday was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of B-cell Lymphoma, was the inspiration for The Max Cure Foundation," said Richard Plotkin, vice chairman of The Max Cure Foundation. "As Max bravely endured two years of treatment which ultimately led to his remissionmy family went into action to raise funds for pediatric cancer research. This grant is the first of three collaborative grants we're committed to sponsoring with SWCRF so that other children will not have to experience long, painful and invasive cancer treatments."