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Major Partnership Benefits Pediatric Cancer Research

TSET, Stephenson Cancer Center and OU team up to make Oklahoma a leader in childhood cancer research 

OKLAHOMA CITY – (Friday, Aug. 26, 2016) – 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 announced Friday 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 externally-funded pediatric cancer researchers, expand pediatric clinical trials statewide and establish funding for pediatric cancer research to support future research aimed at increasing knowledge and understanding of childhood cancers.

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.“

The Jimmy Everest Pediatric Oncology Program located on the OU Health Sciences Center campus is Oklahoma’s most comprehensive pediatric cancer program. Under the leadership of Dr. William Meyer, Ben Johnson Endowed Chair and Chair of the Jimmy Everest Section of Pediatric Hematology / Oncology at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, the Jimmy Everest Center Program has developed an outstanding clinical team of physicians and staff dedicated to treating this devastating disease.

“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.

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.”

Pediatric Cancer Research Funding Partnership At a Glance:           

  • $2.2 million up-front start-up cost to recruit three top pediatric cancer researchers with funds from the Children’s Hospital Foundation, OU Health Sciences Center, and Stephenson Cancer Center
  • $1 million annual support from TSET
  • Allocate TSET funds annually to be used as seed grants for new, emerging pediatric cancer research.
  • Funding partnership will increase clinical trial availability in Oklahoma
  • Provide additional support for cooperative research with partners throughout the state of Oklahoma

 For more information, contact: 
Julie Bisbee 
julieb@tset.ok.gov 
(405) 521-3888 
Mobile (405) 301-3693

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The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations working towards shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans. TSET provides leadership at the intersections of health by working with local coalitions and initiatives across the state, by cultivating innovative and life-changing research, and by working across public and private sectors to develop, support, implement and evaluate creative strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities to improve the public’s health. TSET – Better Lives Through Better Health. To learn more go to: tset.ok.gov.