CancerFree KIDS makes record research investment

CancerFree KIDS is making a record investment of $1.25 million into 21 research projects at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Columbus-based Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

This is the most money the organization has given to pediatric cancer research grants at one time in its 20-year history. Since its inception in 2002, CancerFree KIDS’ has now committed $9.45 million into 215 research projects.

“We are thrilled to be able to fund promising pediatric cancer research,” said Jill Brinck, executive director of CancerFree KIDS. “We are also grateful to our many supporters, who make life-changing investments like this happen.”

Jill Brinck, Bob Hoffer, Leigh Fox, Mark Anderson, Al Early, Dr. Mary Bedard, Dr. Tafadzwa Chihanga, Ellen Flannery, Julia Fox

CancerFree KIDS’ mission is to provide much-needed financial resources to what Brinck called the “severely underfunded world of pediatric cancer.” The Loveland-based nonprofit uses financial gifts and donations to provide grants to high-risk, high-reward research projects while they’re in the crucial early stages of development.

New ideas need money to grow, Brinck said. These grants aim to provide researchers with the time and financial support to advance their concept, secure additional funding and hopefully create new treatments for kids.

Of this latest round of funding, 18 of the 21 investments are what CancerFree KIDS calls “New Idea Awards.” The grants go to early-stage projects that show innovation and promise for gentler, more effective treatments for kids battling cancer. There were also three “Accelerator Awards,” which go to previous New Idea Award recipients whose research has shown exceptional success.

CancerFree KIDS’ did not provide specifics about the individual grant recipients.

Jill Brinck during the investment announcement

“CancerFree KIDS is a central part of our team and a central part of innovation,” said Dr. John Perentesis, director of oncology at Cincinnati Children’s. He’s also the director of the hospital network’s Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute.

“Their funding allows us to look at transformational big leaps and how we think about cancer to treat and cure kids for whom regular therapies don’t work,” he continued.

To determine what projects to fund, CancerFree KIDS established a Scientific Review Committee. It’s led by Dr. Franklin Smith, senior vice president of medical affairs at Medpace, and Dr. Greg Reaman, director of the Childhood Cancer Data Initiative at the National Cancer Institute, with other members representing health institutions from across the country.

To date, researchers have received more than $78 million in follow-on funding as a result of their work funded by a CancerFree KIDS grant. CancerFree KIDS-funded projects have also led to 283 publications, 44 patents, 19 clinical trials, the creation of three companies and the development of two FDA-approved drugs.

CancerFree KIDS


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