Carolinas Kids Cancer Research Coalition Provides $5.7 Million in Funding Commitments

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Eight philanthropic organizations and families in the Charlotte region have joined forces to create the “Carolinas Kids Cancer Research Coalition,” which is providing funding for the introduction of Phase I and Phase II clinical trials by the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Center at Levine Children’s Hospital.

“Clinical research is an essential element of our mission at Levine Children’s Hospital,” said Dr. Leonard Feld, Sara H. Bissell & Howard C. Bissell Endowed Chair in Pediatrics and Chief Medical Officer of Levine Children’s Hospital. “The expansion of Ph

Eight philanthropic organizations and families in the Charlotte region have joined forces to create the “Carolinas Kids Cancer Research Coalition,” which is providing funding for the introduction of Phase I and Phase II clinical trials by the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Center at Levine Children’s Hospital.

The coalition support includes a signature commitment of $1 million from the Alex Hemby Foundation and the Hemby family, resulting in the naming of the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Center in honor of Torrence E. Hemby, Jr. and the creation of an endowed fund in his honor. Consistent with other commitments from Coalition members, the Hemby gift is being matched by The Leon Levine Foundation, for total Coalition funding in the amount of $5.7 million.

The development of pediatric cancer research with Phase I and Phase II clinical trials places Levine Children’s Hospital among the nation’s elite healthcare providers in the battle against childhood cancer,” said Michael Tarwater, CEO of Carolinas HealthCare System. “By expanding our clinical research capabilities, we are assuring families throughout this region that they can receive the latest treatments close to home.

The Carolinas Kids Cancer Research Coalition includes some of the region’s premier nonprofit groups dedicated to fund raising, education and awareness related to pediatric cancer. Founding members of the Coalition are The Leon Levine Foundation, The Alex Hemby Foundation, The Adam Faulk Tanksley Foundation, The Baby J Ladley Fund, Quail Hollow Championship, drumSTRONG™, 24 Hours of Booty, and Brett’s Ride for Rhabdo.

“Formation of the Cancer Research Coalition opens the door for increased collaboration among organizations wanting to support pediatric cancer research and services for children in our region,” said Bevie Hemby, speaking on behalf of The Alex Hemby Foundation and the Hemby family. “The needs of our children and families today truly transcend the resources of any single organization; it has been gratifying to see how these founding members have rallied around a common goal.

“We are excited to help make it possible to keep children and families together in Charlotte as they benefit from access to the most current research and clinical therapies.”

The $5.7 million in funding will be used to expand staff, diagnostic and treatment equipment, and support services for Phase I and Phase II clinical trials, which are conducted to test the safety, effectiveness and best approaches for the use of new drugs and other inventions. Phase I clinical trials are the first step in testing new treatment approaches in people, enrolling a small number of patients. Phase II trials enroll a larger group of patients and focus on the effectiveness of specific agents or interventions.

“The success of Levine Children’s Hospital has been the result of broad-based support from throughout our community by those dedicated to the health and wellbeing of our children,” said Michael Rose, President of the Carolinas HealthCare Foundation. “The generous support from the Coalition clearly demonstrates that this commitment to excellence in pediatric healthcare remains strong in our community.”

As one of the fastest growing programs at Levine Children’s Hospital, the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Center treats patients with leukemia, lymphoma, neuroblastoma, brain tumors, kidney cancer, and bone and soft tissue tumors. In addition, the Center offers neuro-oncology services and blood and marrow transplantation. With the continuing expansion of its medical staff, the Hematology and Oncology Center now includes eight physicians with in-depth knowledge of the full range of childhood cancers, offering extensive surgical, chemotherapy and radiologic procedures.

The Center’s pediatric patients also have access to a broad range of clinical research studies, including National Cancer Institute protocols for therapies under development. The Center has participated in more than 60 clinical trials through the internationally recognized Children’s Oncology Group, a collaborative initiative including patients, researchers and hospitals throughout the world.

More recently, the Center has joined two widely recognized consortia dedicated to fighting childhood cancer. These include Therapeutic Advances in Childhood Leukemia and Lymphoma (TACL), and the Neuroblastoma and Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium (NMTRC). Affiliation with these organizations will give children in the Carolinas access to novel drugs which were previously not available in the Carolinas.

Phase I and Phase II clinical trials planned by the Center will focus on leukemia, lymphoma, neuroblastoma, brain tumors, kidney cancer, and other bone and soft tissue tumors.

“Clinical research is an essential element of our mission at Levine Children’s Hospital,” said Dr. Leonard Feld, Sara H. Bissell & Howard C. Bissell Endowed Chair in Pediatrics and Chief Medical Officer of Levine Children’s Hospital. “The expansion of Phase I and Phase II studies will lead to increasing our overall knowledge and enhancing the capability of our physicians and staff to provide new treatment options for our region’s children with cancer.”

About Levine Children’s Hospital

Levine Children’s Hospital (http://www.levinechildrenshospital.org) is a 234-bed hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, located on the main campus of Carolinas Medical Center. It is the most comprehensive facility of its type between Atlanta, Georgia and Washington D.C. Levine Children’s Hospital is also home to the Ricky Hendrick Centers for Intensive Care, which support pediatric intensive and cardiovascular surgery patients. Just two years after opening, the hospital has grown to include more than 30 pediatric specialties and has received national recognition from U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals” for treatment of kidney disorders.

Levine Children’s Hospital is one of 32 hospitals affiliated with Carolinas HealthCare System (http://www.carolinashealthcare.org), one of the leading healthcare systems in the Southeast. Carolinas HealthCare System employs some 1,400 physicians and serves patients at more than 500 care locations including physician practices, nursing homes, surgical and rehabilitation centers, home health agencies and other facilities. These operations comprise more than 6,300 licensed beds and employ some 44,000 people.

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