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Damon Runyon, Sohn Foundation partner to address funding shortage in pediatric cancer research

New York, NY Two non-profit organizations committed to eliminating cancer in children and young adults have joined together to address the critical shortage of funding for pediatric cancer research. The Sohn Conference Foundation, dedicated to curing pediatric cancers, has granted $1.5 million to the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, the leading charity supporting innovative young cancer researchers, to establish the Damon Runyon-Sohn Pediatric Cancer Fellowship Award. This Award will provide funding to basic scientists and clinicians who conduct research with the potential to significantly impact the prevention, diagnosis or treatment of one or more pediatric cancers.

Nothing is more important than saving young people from devastating illnesses. Yet, because cancer occurs less frequently in children and young adults than in the adult population, it does not receive significant funding from either the National Cancer Institute (only four percent of its budget) or the biopharmaceutical industry. As a result, there have been limited advances in recent years in treating these cancers, and fewer scientists are working in this field.

"As in the technology world, where transformative innovation most often comes from young minds, the most brilliant and audacious young scientists drive breakthroughs in biomedical research. We are confident that by getting them to focus on childhood cancers, we can cure children and prevent the long-term side effects that result from today's treatments," says Lorraine Egan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Damon Runyon.

The goal of this new Fellowship Award is to recruit the top young minds to research childhood cancers. It leverages the success of the internationally-renowned Damon Runyon Fellowship Award, which has an unparalleled track record for identifying future breakthrough scientists. After a national call for proposals, a selection committee chaired by William Carroll, MD, Director of the New York University Cancer Institute, and comprised of leaders in pediatric cancer research, will select award recipients. The program is being launched as a pilot project with the potential for expansion if successful.

"Ever since my brother Ira died from cancer at age 29, the Sohn Conference Foundation has been committed to finding cures for cancer affecting kids and young adults," explains Evan Sohn, founder of the Sohn Conference Foundation. "By partnering with Damon Runyon, we hope to encourage the best young scientists to focus on childhood cancers."

Contact: Todd Brogan
Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation

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