V Foundation's focus on pediatric cancer

August 7, 2008 5:38:04 PM PDT
Pediatric cancer research is an area that's been underfunded for years. That's why this year the V Foundation is focusing on pediatric cancer. They plan to give out at least $56 million dollars for that cause. While the V Foundation's focus is to raise money for all types of cancer research, a major part goes to pediatric cancer. For 16-year-old Andrew Windom, that research is crucial. Andrew was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma of the pelvis at age 14.

"I hope they get information on the cancer and stuff and have bigger treatment in the future for like future generations," Andrew said as he undergoes his second cancer treatment at UNC's Children's Hospital.

After a year of treatment and 5-months in remission, this spring, his cancer returned. "I'm taking a clinical trial one that hadn't ever been used on my type of cancer before," he said.

Dr. Ian Davis has been with Andrew every step of the way. Together, they're not only working to beat his cancer, but to also help other children diagnosed. Dr. Davis explains that Andrew is a major part of his research because the cancer "can occur both in bones and outside of bones," Davis said.

The type of cancer Andrew is being treated for, Ewing Sarcoma, is one of the more common forms of pediatric cancers diagnosed in the U.S. It's something researchers at the Lineberger Cancer Center are devoted to understanding better. Dr. Davis says they can do that through with funding through the V Foundation. "We're just finishing up the first year of our V Foundation funding and that funding has really allowed us to explore really in a broad sense how these molecular switches I was talking about function and to be able to bring in all the people around here to help out with those studies."

In simple terms, by studying what makes Ewing Sarcoma form or how the abnormal cancer cells "turn on" Dr. Davis is hoping to find a way to turn the cells off. The two year grant he received from the V Found is helping make that possible. "It's really through funding agencies like the Jimmy V Foundation that can help kind of junior investigators kind of hit the ground running get what they need to operate."

Dr. Davis' lab operates with help from the V Foundation allowing him to help patients like Andrew Windom. Together their research is making a difference for all children battling cancer.

Kimberly Windom, Andrew's mother explains just how important the research is for her families and others. "I think it's very important because there are a lot of children who are sick and they need this research to get well."

Eyewitness News will have a lot more on The Jimmy V Celebrity Golf Classic all weekend long.

Look for an hour of live coverage on ABC11 Eyewitness News from Pinehurst Sunday morning at 9 a.m. Sunday night watch an Eyewitness News special Jimmy V: A Legacy of Hope at 11:35 p.m.


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