St. Baldrick’s Foundation Awards Two Grants to North Shore-LIJ Pediatric Researchers

New Hyde Park – It takes life-saving research to Conquer Kids’ Cancer! The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-driven charity dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research, has awarded two grants to two pediatric researchers affiliated with the North Shore-LIJ Health System.

Jonathan Fish, M.D., section head of the Survivors Facing Forward program in the division of pediatric hematology and oncology at the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center (CCMC) of New York and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, received a $230,000 St. Baldrick’s extended Scholar award, and Johnson Liu, M.D., head of the Les Nelkin Memorial Pediatric Oncology Laboratory at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, will lead a study funded by a $100,000 Consortium Research Grant. Both CCMC and the Feinstein Institute are part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System.

Worldwide, more than 160,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year, and it remains the leading cause of death by disease among children in the United States. With only 3 percent of all federal cancer research funding dedicated to pediatric cancer research, St. Baldrick’s Foundation grant funds are critical to continue the battle against this devastating disease.

Based on progress to date, Dr. Fish was awarded this new grant to fund an additional two years of his Scholar award. His research will continue to focus on survivorship issues.

“Childhood cancer survivors are a relatively new, but rapidly growing group of patients,” said Dr. Fish. “Two thirds of current survivors have a chronic illness related to their treatment and as many as 18 percent of those who survive cancer die within 30 years of their diagnosis, often from long-term complications of their treatment.”

Dr. Fish continues, “Survivorship research is critical in order to better understand the challenges faced by survivors. The St. Baldrick’s Scholar award has allowed for the creation of the Survivors Facing Forward (SURFF) program at CCMC. Since its creation in July 2008, the specialized clinical care provided in the SURFF program has directly benefited over 250 survivors, while also allowing for significant research advances affecting them. In the more than two years of its existence, the SURFF program has transformed the care of childhood cancer survivors at CCMC, and allowed for the development of new research into survivorship-related questions. Funding from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation was, and is, essential to this important clinical and research program.”

The Consortium Research Grant will support the Consortium on Pediatric Myelodysplastic Syndromes and Ribosome Dysfunction. This research project is focused on Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a blood cancer that affects the bone marrow stem cell and may lead to leukemia.

“MDS is usually seen in older adults but rarely can occur in children as a result of certain gene mutations,” said Dr. Liu. “Our new St. Baldrick’s Foundation Consortium is a nationwide team of doctors and scientists at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. Our focus is to study the biology of childhood MDS and identify therapeutic targets for this rare but devastating blood cancer.”

These grants are part of more than $19.6 million in new grants by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, bringing the total to more than $21 million awarded for the fiscal year. All funding applications were peer-reviewed by leading pediatric cancer researchers who volunteer their time and expertise and make funding recommendations to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s board of directors. The Foundation’s next round of grants will be announced in October.

In 2011, more than 100 St. Baldrick’s events were held in the state of New York, where more than 6,300 volunteers shaved their heads to help Conquer Kids’ Cancer!

“I am proud to say that the ‘Nassau County Police Department 3rd Pct.’ event has been a huge success,” said Nick Mosesso, volunteer event organizer of the New Hyde Park St. Baldrick’s event. “I know that each one of the many shavees, barbers, volunteers and donors are happy to help find a cure for children’s cancer. The funding of a grant at the Cohen’s Children’s Hospital is especially gratifying since the hospital is one of our neighbors. We all believe that St. Baldrick’s and Cohen’s Hospital will be successful in this endeavor, and we are honored to be a part of it.”

St. Baldrick’s signature head-shaving events are the fastest growing, volunteer-driven fundraising opportunity benefitting childhood cancer research. In 2011, the Foundation’s volunteers and supporters have led the way to raising a record-breaking $26.3 million by organizing more than 1,000 St. Baldrick’s events and shaving more than 43,500 heads to stand in solidarity with kids with cancer.

Everyone can do their part to support St. Baldrick’s! To locate or organize an event in your community, sign-up to shave, donate or volunteer, visit www.StBaldricks.org. You can also become a fan on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, join our letsCONQUER movement and visit the Foundation’s YouTube and Vimeo channels.

About the St. Baldrick’s Foundation

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives. The Foundation funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. government. St. Baldrick’s funds are granted to some of the most brilliant childhood cancer research experts in the world and to younger professionals who will be the experts of tomorrow. Funds awarded also enable hundreds of local institutions to participate in national pediatric cancer clinical trials, a child’s best hope for a cure. Since the Foundation’s first grants as an independent charity in 2005, St. Baldrick’s has funded more than $76 million in childhood cancer research. For more information about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation please call 1.888.899.BALD or visit www.StBaldricks.org.

About the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York

Opened in 1983 and known as Schneider Children’s Hospital until March 2010, the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York has nearly 600 pediatricians, including 120-full-time physicians, and a total workforce of 1,330, including about 400 nurses. Annually, the children’s hospitals on the New Hyde Park and Manhasset campuses treat nearly 12,000 inpatients, about 170,000 outpatients, nearly 70,000 emergency patients and about 2,500 neonates, and perform about 6,500 surgeries. The New Hyde Park facility is one of only two pediatric trauma centers in the New York area. In addition to its main facilities in New Hyde Park and Manhasset, the children’s hospital has satellite centers in Bensonhurst and Williamsburg, Brooklyn; Flushing, Queens; and Commack and Hewlett, Long Island. To learn more, go to: www.northshorelij.com/ccmcny or call (718) 470-7000.

About The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

Headquartered in Manhasset, NY, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is home to international scientific leaders in Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, psychiatric disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, sepsis, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, human genetics, leukemia, lymphoma, neuroimmunology, and medicinal chemistry. The Feinstein Institute, part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, ranks in the top 6th percentile of all National Institutes of Health grants awarded to research centers. For more information: www.FeinsteinInstitute.org.

Media Contacts:

Traci Shirk

626-792-8247 ext. 50

traci@stbaldricks.org

Michelle Pinto

516-465-2649/2600

mpinto@nshs.edu