The Sunshine Project
Cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease among children under the age of 15 in the United States. In 2005, the Pediatric Cancer Foundation decided to aggressively pursue measurable change in the way pediatric cancer research was approached and funded by forming the Sunshine Project. The Sunshine Project is an innovative collaboration with one goal: to bring together the nation’s top doctors and researchers to fast-track less toxic, more targeted treatments and increase the survival rate for children battling cancer.
Through the establishment of the Sunshine Project, the Pediatric Cancer Foundation has developed a business model unlike any other in the field of pediatric cancer research. Capitalizing on the strengths of researchers from a variety of scientific fields, we have streamlined the process of protocol development in the hopes of delivering more personalized medicine to children with cancer.
Through the Sunshine Project, the Pediatric Cancer Foundation has launched four Phase 1 clinical trials in just seven years. This is an incredibly short time in the medical world. New combinations have been, and continue to be, tested in these trials. These new combinations hold great promise for children who have not experienced positive results under the standard protocol treatment.
Why is the Sunshine Project unique?
The collaborative effort that is engaged through the Sunshine Project is a fast-growing consortium of the nation’s top pediatric researchers.
Investigators are performing three vital phases of research simultaneously. Basic science, translational research, and clinical trials are the major research components that not only allow doctors to identify new agents in fighting cancer, but also help researchers to understand the cancer cells’ response to the drug. To identify new treatment options through clinical trials, researchers focus on developing treatments that target only cancer-causing molecules in the body, unlike more traditional treatments that often prove toxic to healthy cells. Because the new gene-targeted therapies are less toxic than traditional treatment, it is also more effective because it targets the source of the cancer and does not compromise the rest of the body by eliminating the immune system, which many times leads to death.
The Sunshine Project is being executed at a rapid rate, relying on the cooperative efforts of a team of principal investigators from leading institutions. Through this novel approach, the Pediatric Cancer Foundation is literally changing the way research is done.
Research. It’s what we fund. It’s all we do. It’s the only way to find a cure.