February 5, 2014

Childhood cancer researcher awarded $250,000 ‘Lemonade Stand’ grant

Patrick Grohar, M.D., Ph.D. (Photo by Daniel Dubois/Vanderbilt)

Patrick Grohar, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of Pediatric Hematology at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, has been awarded a $250,000 Reach Award from Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation to support Ewing sarcoma research.

In addition to supporting Grohar’s research, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation is awarding Reach Awards to childhood cancer researchers at leading institutions across the country. The grants, which are designed to overcome the significant barriers that impede the translation of innovative and important research ideas from the lab to the clinic, have been awarded to 12 researchers, providing each $250,000 over two years.

Grohar’s research aims to develop new approaches to target the gene that causes Ewing sarcoma tumors to grow and spread throughout the body, a gene called EWS-FLI1.

“Ewing sarcoma is the second most common childhood bone tumor with a poor prognosis particularly for patients who have relapsed or have metastatic disease,” said Grohar. “The goal of our lab is to develop and clinically translate novel therapies for Ewing sarcoma.”

The mission of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation remains to find better treatments and ultimately cures for all childhood cancers. Recognizing that clinical trials are imperative to moving innovative cures and treatments forward, the foundation focuses several grant categories on supporting late translational studies to ultimately initiate a clinical trial. Along with the Reach Grant, the Centers of Excellence Program also supports the development of therapeutics in preparation for early phase clinical trials for childhood cancer.

“When the traditional treatment protocol failed for my daughter Alex, clinical trials became our best and only option for combating her cancer,” said Jay Scott, co-executive director of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. “While the outcome of the trials was not always certain, her participation allowed Alex several years of high quality of life, including her idea to hold a front yard lemonade stand. We know firsthand how important these trials are to bettering the lives of childhood cancer patients, and we are dedicated to bringing promising research from the lab to the clinic.”

In addition to the Reach Awards, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation has recently announced the awarding of several other grant categories to researchers on the front lines of the childhood cancer fight. For more information on recently funded projects, visit: www.ALSFgrants.org.

About Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) emerged from the front yard lemonade stand of cancer patient Alexandra “Alex” Scott (1996-2004). In 2000, 4-year-old Alex announced that she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. Since Alex held that first stand, the Foundation bearing her name has evolved into a national fundraising movement, complete with thousands of supporters across the country carrying on her legacy of hope. To date, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 charity, has raised more than $75 million toward fulfilling Alex’s dream of finding a cure, funding over 375 pediatric cancer research projects nationally.