We are thrilled to share that the Emily Whitehead Foundation has contributed $125,000 in research funding to the 2020 Stand Up To Cancer Phillip A. Sharp Innovation and Collaboration Awards.

The Emily Whitehead Foundation supported grant totals $250,000, and has been awarded to Dr. Michal Sheffer, PhD of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Dr. David Kirsch, MD, PhD of Duke University Medical Center.

The research of Dr. Sheffer and Dr. Kirsch will focus on the use of natural killer (NK) cells as an alternative treatment for pediatric cancers. The idea is to harness NK cells, a part of the body's immune system that looks for and targets abnormal cells, and engineer them as CAR NK cells that are better equipped to recognize and kill cancer cells — similar to how CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T-cell therapy reprograms a patient's T-cells to fight cancer.

The hope is that these CAR NK cells will be an effective alternative treatment for a variety of pediatric cancers, such as sarcomas and neuroblastoma.

Tom Whitehead is quoted in the press release, shared by Stand Up To Cancer and the American Association for Cancer Research:

"We are honored to continue our collaboration with SU2C to fund these researchers focused on furthering pediatric cancer immunotherapy treatments,” said Tom Whitehead, co-founder of the Emily Whitehead Foundation. “Collaborative research is essential to developing new, successful treatments. Our hope is that by funding these research grants we will be able to give more kids the chance to survive their cancer and lead happy, healthy lives.”

This is the Emily Whitehead Foundation's third consecutive contribution to Stand Up To Cancer's Sharp Awards. In 2019, the EWF co-funded grant was awarded to Dr. Sarah Tasian, MD of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Dr. Kimberly Stegmaier, MD of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. And in 2018, the EWF co-funded Sharp Award supported the research collaboration of Toronto scientist Dr. Trevor Pugh and CHOP pediatric oncologist Dr. David Barrett.

It is an honor to collaborate with our friends at Stand Up To Cancer again this year, and we are proud to contribute to the funding of such innovate research projects!