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Major partnership benefits pediatric cancer research

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KSWO) - A major investment supporting childhood cancer research and treatment will benefit Oklahoma children and move the Stephenson Cancer Center closer to achieving National Cancer Institute designation.

A funding partnership between the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, Stephenson Cancer Center, Children’s Hospital Foundation, and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center will enhance Stephenson Cancer Center’s commitment to cancer research and care to Oklahomans of all ages.

With an upfront combined investment of $2.2 million, the research partnership will recruit three pediatric cancer researchers, expand pediatric clinical trials statewide and establish a pediatric cancer research fund to support future research aimed at increasing knowledge and understanding of childhood cancers.

“The addition of a strong scientific and translation team of researchers will not only benefit pediatric cancer patients in Oklahoma, but will advance our understanding about the genetic and molecular mechanisms that lead to cancer in children,” said Dr. Meyer.

Up to $1 million annually from an existing TSET research grant to Stephenson Cancer Center will be allocated to increasing access to cutting-edge cancer treatment for children statewide.

“Many of today’s cures come from innovation and creativity spawned by researchers at universities. This partnership, along with others, funds important endeavors intended to improve the health of all Oklahomans,” said Jim Gebhart, chairman of the TSET Board of Directors. “It is our hope that this partnership will lead to transformative cancer treatment and historic cures for childhood cancers.“

As part of the Stephenson Cancer Center’s application to the National Cancer Institute for designation as a comprehensive cancer center, the center will make pediatric cancer research a key area of focus.

“It’s exciting to learn Oklahoma is considering a sustainable initiative for children cancer research, said Dr. Crystal Mackall, associate director of the Stanford Cancer Institute. “Relatively little funding goes to research new, more effective treatments for cancer in children. This development in Oklahoma is a welcome bit of news and certainly hope this effort is successful.”

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