ThinkCure! Awards $600,000 to Cancer Researchers at City of Hope and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Support will provide funding for critical early-stage research

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- ThinkCure!, the official charity of the Los Angeles Dodgers, announced 12 new seed grants totaling $600,000 to cancer researchers at City of Hope and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The awards will fund the initial phase of cancer studies that offer promising insights into the development and growth of cancer cells as well as overall health outcomes for patients.

Since 2009, ThinkCure! has provided $1.84 million in research grants to City of Hope and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. ThinkCure! is funding eight researchers from City of Hope totaling $400,000 and four investigators from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles will receive $200,000.

Previous ThinkCure!-supported research has resulted in greater knowledge about cancer which has led to significant research grants. For example, preliminary findings from a 2009 ThinkCure! seed grant are credited with City of Hope and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles recently receiving a $2.5 million National Cancer Institute (NCI) grant to collaboratively investigate drug resistance in neuroblastoma, a cancer that usually develops in the nervous systems of children five years of age or younger.

In an initial collaborative study made possible by ThinkCure! funding, researchers demonstrated that the interactions between cancer cells and the normal cells in the microenvironment surrounding the tumor are essential for the growth and spread of neuroblastoma. Researchers established that a protein called STAT3 is persistently activated in tumor cells and in the tumor microenvironment. Extending the Thinkcure! supported research, this new NCI grant will fund investigation into the role of STAT3 signaling in bone marrow stromal cells and the inhibition of environment-mediated drug resistance in neuroblastoma.

City of Hope researchers each receiving the new $50,000 grants include: Yanhong Shi, Ph.D., Yuan Chen, Ph.D.; Marcin Kortylewski, Ph.D., Ryotaro Nakamura, M.D., Shiuan Chen, Ph.D., Jacob Berlin, Ph.D., Rahul Jandial, M.D., Ph.D., and Ching-Cheng Chen, Ph.D.

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles researchers each receiving $50,000 grants include: Charles J. Gomer, Ph.D., Anat Erdreich-Epstein, M.D., Ph.D., Rajkumar Venkatramani, M.D., M.S., and Kathleen Ruccione, M.P.H., R.N., F.A.A.N.

“We live in a world in which almost every one of us has been touched by cancer in some way - whether experiencing it directly or through a friend, neighbor or loved one. Our goal in launching ThinkCure! was to help facilitate collaboration between two landmark Los Angeles hospitals and their researchers in order to make a real difference in the search for a cure. This grant money, raised through the collaboration and commitment of not just the ThinkCure! board, but of the greater Los Angeles community, will further that goal and ensure that life-saving research continues to be a priority,” said founder and chairman of ThinkCure! Frank McCourt.

“As scientists and physicians, we must develop new, innovative studies that provide insight into the various aspects of cancer if we are to continue to make progress in curing more patients,” said Stuart Siegel, M.D., director of the Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “ThinkCure! plays an important role in our work by funding the pilot studies that can lead to significant discoveries. We are thankful for the organization’s ongoing support and commitment that provides real hope for children and adults with cancer.”

“We are all grateful that this partnership between ThinkCure!, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and City of Hope is providing important support to a group of talented investigators whose novel research ideas will help to change the treatment for both children and adults with cancer,” said Stephen J. Forman, M.D., chair, Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation at City of Hope. “In these times, such funding is even more critical to help us in our quest to cure cancer,” added Forman, the Francis and Kathleen McNamara Distinguished Chair in Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation.

About ThinkCure!

ThinkCure! is an innovative, community-based nonprofit that accelerates collaborative research to cure cancers. The research projects funded by ThinkCure! represent innovative approaches to cancer research, including brain cancer, leukemia and lymphoma. ThinkCure! engages the local Los Angeles community in grass roots fundraising efforts and partners with the Dodgers to support our local hospitals, children and adults impacted by cancer. ThinkCure! sponsors several community events to raise awareness about cancer research. ThinkCure! Weekend, YAS-a-thon, and the Los Angeles Marathon and Big 5k Run are among the largest fundraising events that directly support researchers at City of Hope and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. For more information, please visit us on the web at www.thinkcure.org or follow ThinkCure! on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Flickr.

About Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Children's Hospital Los Angeles has been named the best children’s hospital in California and among the best in the nation for clinical excellence with its selection to the prestigious U.S.News & World Report Honor Roll. Children’s Hospital is home to The Saban Research Institute, one of the largest and most productive pediatric research facilities in the United States, is one of America's premier teaching hospitals and has been affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California since 1932. For more information, visit www.CHLA.org. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn, or visit our blog: www.WeAreChildrens.org.

About City of Hope

City of Hope is a leading research, treatment and education center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Designated as a comprehensive cancer center, the highest honor bestowed by the National Cancer Institute, and a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, City of Hope's research and treatment protocols advance care throughout the nation. City of Hope is located in Duarte, Calif., just northeast of Los Angeles, and is ranked as one of "America's Best Hospitals" in cancer by U.S.News & World Report. Founded in 1913, City of Hope is a pioneer in the fields of bone marrow transplantation and genetics. For more information, visit www.cityofhope.org or follow City of Hope on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Flickr.

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CONTACT:

ThinkCure! Media Contact:
Ana LaDou
Office: 310-746-4216
Email: [email protected]
or
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Media Contact:
Ellin Kavanagh
Office: 323-361-8505
Email: [email protected]
or
City of Hope Media Contact:
Roberta Nichols
Office: 800-888-5323
Email: [email protected]

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