AP NEWS

St. Baldrick’s Foundation awards grants to fund the next generation of pediatric oncologists

May 17, 2019

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, is proud to announce its newest round of grants, totaling more than $2.7 million, to support the next generation of St. Baldrick’s Fellows and Summer Fellows at 32 institutions across the U.S.

Among the institutions receiving grants locally was the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, the only Texas facility get a grant.

Since 2005, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation has put a high priority on providing the funding necessary to train early career scientists so that they can pursue a career in the pediatric cancer field.

“During St. Baldrick’s very first grant year, the field understood that if more young pediatric oncology researchers were not trained or given the resources to continue their studies, there would be a shortage of people with the expertise to carry on research to find new cures for kids as the current experts began to retire,” said Kathleen Ruddy, St. Baldrick’s CEO. “With guidance from scientific thought leaders, we created the Fellow and later the Summer Fellow grant categories to ensure we are supporting bright young minds that will pave the future in finding new cures and treatments for all childhood cancers.”

To date, St. Baldrick’s has supported 212 students through 175 St. Baldrick’s Summer Fellow grants and funded 134 St. Baldrick’s Fellows, some of who have gone on to become recognized already as leaders in their field.

“I can’t emphasize enough that the Foundation saved an enterprise,” said Dr. Jeff Lipton, St. Baldrick’s Foundation Board Member and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee. “The support the St. Baldrick’s Foundation has shown for researchers at a time when support for important research is more difficult to garner, not just in allowing them to be innovative and brilliant, but in giving them the time, resources, and runway to showcase that innovation and brilliance is key. Without that support, we’d be hanging on by our fingernails.”

St. Baldrick’s Fellow grants provide two to three years of research funding to young doctors training to become pediatric oncology researchers. This grant provides them with protected time in the lab to learn new skills and gives them a launchpad to even bigger research opportunities and, hopefully, a career as an independent researcher with their own lab.

Since 2005, St. Baldrick’s has granted more than $262 million to support the development of childhood cancer treatments that have the potential to impact every kid diagnosed with cancer. This series of grants is the first of several that will be awarded by the Foundation this year. The next round of funding will be announced in July.