Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital Receives St. Baldrick’s Foundation Grant

November 12, 2019

Pediatric Oncologist Katharine Offer, M.D.

The one-year grant is focused on giving the children’s hospital the ability to open, coordinate and treat more children on clinical trials, often their best hope for a cure.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, awarded the Children’s Cancer Institute of Hackensack Meridian Health Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital, Hackensack University Medical Center an infrastructure grant. The one-year grant is focused on giving the children’s hospital the ability to open, coordinate and treat more children on clinical trials, often their best hope for a cure.

Under the leadership of Pediatric Oncologist Katharine Offer, M.D., the grant will support a clinical research associate in the children’s hospital’s pediatric solid tumor program. “This funding will allow us to build and manage our clinical trial program for children’s solid tumors, notably sarcomas,” said Dr. Offer. “Having the ability to hire this key staff member will enable us to advance progress in research that will directly benefit children with a variety of cancers. Our ultimate goal is to cure these devastating pediatric cancers.”

Clinical trials offer both children in treatment as well as survivors the possibility of a better future with fewer side effects. For all kids with cancer today and in the future, clinical trials help scientists make important steps towards discovering new cures.

“Clinical trials are a team effort on a massive scale. They require the expertise of researchers and clinical staff at hospitals, government experts and statisticians to analyze results, and of course, the children and families who actually choose to participate in them,” said Kathleen Ruddy, CEO of St. Baldrick’s. “Since 2005, St. Baldrick’s volunteers and donors have also played a critical role in clinical trials by funding them.  New treatments cannot reach children without testing them first, so trials are essential to saving kid’s lives.  Without the efforts of everyone involved – researcher, caregiver, volunteer, donor, and families – research progress would slow significantly and fewer children would survive.”

Infrastructure Grants are awarded based on the need of the institution and its patients, anticipated results of the grant and local participation in St. Baldrick’s fundraising events and activities. Since 2005, St. Baldrick’s has awarded more than $282 million to support the most promising childhood cancer research, no matter where it takes place.

Since its inception in 1987, the Pediatric Oncology program at Hackensack University Medical Center has been a leader in providing care to children and young adults with cancer. Patients benefit from cutting-edge treatment protocols through the Children’s Oncology Group and other national and international research groups. Program physicians take leading roles in advancing clinical research while providing care that reflects many years of hands-on experience.

In 2019, U.S. News & World Report ranked the combined cancer program at Hackensack Meridian Health’s two children’s hospitals – Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune – #44 in the U.S. and the only cancer program in New Jersey to be ranked among the top 50 in the nation. For more information or for a physician referral, visit www.HackensackMeridianHealth.org.

For more information on St. Baldrick’s Foundation, visit www.stbaldricks.org, or follow on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Vimeo. Read more about the research funded on the St. Baldrick’s blog.

About St. Baldrick’s Foundation

As the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation is leading the charge to take childhood back from cancer. St. Baldrick’s funds some of the most brilliant childhood cancer research experts who are working to find cures and better treatments for all childhood cancers. Kids need treatments as unique as they are – and that starts with funding research just for them. Join us at StBaldricks.org to help support the best childhood cancer research, no matter where it takes place.