Worldwide, more than 160,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year, and it remains the leading cause of death by disease among children in the United States. With only 3 percent of all federal cancer research funding dedicated to childhood cancer research, St. Baldrick’s Foundation grant funds are critical to continue the battle against this devastating disease.
Dr. Gershon is one of nine new St. Baldrick’s Scholars in 2011, in addition to 10 current Scholars who were granted two-year extensions. His research focuses on medulloblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor in children. He will investigate a previously unknown connection among the immune system, brain growth and the formation of brain tumors.
“Current therapy is overly toxic and fails to cure many patients,” explains Dr. Gershon. “By providing strong, early career support, the St Baldrick’s Scholar award has made it possible for me to think outside the box and approach medulloblastoma treatment from a new direction. With this support I hope to define a new avenue of treatment that will offer medulloblatoma patients reduced toxicity and improved effectiveness.”
This grant is part of more than $19.6 million in new grants awarded by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, bringing the total to more than $21 million awarded for the fiscal year. All funding applications were peer-reviewed by leading pediatric cancer researchers who volunteer their time and expertise and make funding recommendations to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s board of directors. The Foundation’s next round of grants will be announced in October.
In 2011, 50 St. Baldrick’s events were held in North Carolina, where more than 2,500 volunteers shaved their heads to help Conquer Kids’ Cancer!