PALO ALTO, California – AeroPress, Inc., based in Palo Alto, California, announces the winner of the inaugural $100,000 Innovative Translational Research Award to a leading pediatric cancer researcher. The winner, Dr. Nicholas Vitanza from Seattle Children’s Research Institute, is focused on studying pediatric brain tumors. His winning project went through a rigorous peer-reviewed process consisting of top pediatric cancer researchers from leading hospitals across the country.
Dr. Vitanza’s project was selected from proposals submitted by esteemed hospitals including St. Jude, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Texas Children’s Cancer Center, Dana-Farber, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
AeroPress, Inc. is underwriting the Innovative Translational Research Award. Founder and President Alan Adler says funding the award is a natural fit for his company, whose AeroPress designs are a new approach to coffee brewing. “When I first learned about Cookies for Kids’ Cancer from the founders, I knew instantly that I wanted to support ‘Cookies’ with all my heart,” says Adler. “The more I learned about their program, the more enthusiastic I became. Their focus is on supporting research that has the best chance of helping children in the shortest time possible. That’s exactly where I think the focus should be.”
The grant is being administered by Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a national pediatric cancer nonprofit that has funded more than $17 million for research into new, improved and less toxic pediatric cancer therapies. The organization encourages people to “be good cookies” by getting involved in whatever way motivates them to support pediatric cancer research. There have been nearly 14,000 grassroots events held in all 50 states and 20 countries by people of all ages. Said Cookies for Kids’ Cancer co-founder Gretchen Witt, “We are grateful to have support from AeroPress and are thrilled to have been able to create this award specifically for them. Researchers like Dr. Vitanza rely on support from private foundations like ours which is a vital part of their funding. On average it takes more than two years for a researcher to receive funding after submitting a grant request to the National Cancer Institute for review. That timeline for a project submitted to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is around 60 days. And, when you’re a child battling cancer, days count.”
Dr. Nicholas Vitanza is a pediatric neuro-oncologist at Seattle Children’s researching midline gliomas (DMGs), a particularly aggressive form of brain tumor. His hope is to develop an immunotherapy with chimeric antigen receptor T cells to treat children who typically have a survival of only 11 months after diagnosis. “It is an honor to be awarded this award that will play a pivotal role in supporting our work,” said Vitanza. “Pediatric cancer continues to be dramatically underfunded compared to adult cancers at every level from National Institutes of Health funding to private sector support, so these awards are critical and literally make the research we conduct possible. DMG is responsible for an unimaginable 25,000 potential years of life lost every year just in the United States and we owe it to these children and their families to investigate new technologies as quickly and safely as possible and to also understand how best to deliver them.”
Pediatric cancer is the number one cause of death by disease of children in the United States under the age of 18. The types of cancers that children develop are different from adult cancers and, therefore, require specialized research. Two thirds of children treated for cancer develop long-term side effects as a result of their treatment, making improved, less toxic cancer treatments for children a critical research priority. “The lack of funding directed towards pediatric cancer astounds me as much today as the day my son Liam was diagnosed. It just doesn’t make sense to me that we invest so little money into a disease that preys on our most precious resource, our children,” said Witt. “To have an innovative company like AeroPress not only recognize the need but step up to the plate to fund a grant specific for new thinking by young investigators is truly amazing. My son was fascinated by science and figuring out how things work. He not only would have loved to know the inspiration behind AeroPress but would have cheered them on for their forward thinking by funding a grant specifically for the next generation.”
For more information about this award and the winner, please visit https://aeropress.com/cookies-for-kids-cancer-award/.