For research project: St. Anna Children’s Cancer Research receives millions in funding from the USA
4:51 p.m., March 16, 2021
As one of only four selected projects, a team led by the St. Anna Children’s Cancer Research in Vienna around 3.4 million dollars (2.85 million euros) to research the Ewing’s sarcoma. The funding comes from the US Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF). The foundation is awarding a total of $ 18.5 million as part of its “Crazy 8 Initiative”. The Viennese project is the only one outside of the USA that was involved in the award round.
Ewing’s sarcoma is a form of bone cancer in children that can take very different courses. The team led by Heinrich Kovar is also made up of scientists from the Medical University of Vienna and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, as St. Anna Children’s Cancer Research announced on Tuesday. Together they want to clarify the long unanswered question of which cells of origin these bone sarcomas develop and how they develop.
Very aggressive tumor
Ewing’s sarcoma is a very aggressive tumor in children and adolescents, which is associated with poor long-term survival in around a third of young patients, it is said. Although the need for new treatment options is high, the development of new drugs is “severely hindered by the relative rarity of the disease and the lack of preclinical models”.
During the four years of the project, Kovar and colleagues will, among other things, develop disease models in fish in order to test the effectiveness of possible drugs. “This would make it possible to run preclinical active ingredient screenings at high throughput,” said the researcher in the broadcast. In addition, the scientists want to better differentiate between cancerous and healthy tissue in the future. To do this, they will “activate the cancer-causing oncogene” at different times in stem cells that develop into cartilage, bone, fat or nerve cells and analyze what the changing tumor cells look like, according to project co-leader Florian Halbritter .
Initiative from four year old
The ALSF is one of the leading funding organizations in the field of childhood cancer research. It is based on the initiative of the then four-year-olds Alexandra “Alex” Scottwho started raising money for childhood cancer research with a lemonade stand in her front yard in Connecticut. By the time she succumbed to cancer at the age of eight in 2004, she had already raised a million dollars for pediatric cancer research. The foundation has since grown into a nationwide fundraising movement, the website says. The Viennese project was able to prevail out of 83 international funding applications.