Childhood cancer is the #1 killer by disease among children yet it is very overlooked and underfunded. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is the largest government funder of cancer research. All childhood cancer combined receive less than 4% of the cancer budget. More than 96% of all the cancer research dollars are not devoted to childhood cancers and our children receive only “incidental benefit” of those research projects.
The problem is that childhood cancers are different than their adult counterparts at a cellular level. Scientists are proving in many cancers that the childhood version is different than the adult version yet we must treat it with adult cancer drugs because they are all we have available to our children! Since 1980, only three drugs have been developed for childhood cancer treatments while in that same time over fifty have been developed for adults. The reason is one of finances, there aren’t as many children with cancer as there are adults making it much less profitable for large pharmaceutical industries to develop drugs for our children. This is a significant roadblock to progress in treatments for our children.
We have a unique solution to those problems. Braden’s Hope is working currently working exclusively with Children’s Mercy Hospital in conjunction with KU Cancer Center, both in Kansas City. We support research that seeks to find the activator for childhood cancers (the switch that is flipped that makes a regular cell become a cancerous one), and targeted treatments that then shut those activators down. Children’s Mercy has talented, dedicated, and innovative researchers who work with the researchers at KU Cancer Center. KU Cancer Center is one of only 6 research institutions in the United States that has their own drug development center and they are ranked #2 in the nation. Because of this unprecedented collaboration of staff and resources we are able to develop treatments that other locations are unable to do without the involvement of large pharmaceutical industries. Braden’s Hope and Kansas City are uniquely positioned to break through the barriers to cures for our children and bring hope of a future to our heroes with cancer.