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Four Diamonds elevates commitment to curing pediatric cancer with new innovation initiative

New initiative commits to use $24 million over next few years to drive innovation to find a cure for all pediatric cancers

Four Diamonds and Penn State Health Children’s Hospital are strengthening their commitment to conquering childhood cancer with the creation of a new initiative designed to bolster pediatric cancer research efforts. The Children’s Hospital and Penn State College of Medicine have approved the creation of the Four Diamonds Initiative for Childhood Cancer Innovation, an expansion of Four Diamonds’ ongoing work to find a cure for all pediatric cancers. The new initiative is part of a multi-year strategic plan with a $24 million commitment for how the Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology will use contributions from fundraising efforts by Four Diamonds, including Penn State’s THON and Four Diamonds Mini-THONs.

The initiative aligns with the Four Diamonds mission to provide comprehensive support to children and their families, including covering 100% of all medical expenses related to cancer care not covered by insurance for eligible Four Diamonds children while expanding upon clinical research. The initiative will enhance the work of Four Diamonds in three areas:

  • Patient care. Through advanced diagnostics and therapeutics, providers will strive to more precisely identify cancers, both in the early and established stages, and develop more personalized treatments that lead to better cure rates and survivorship.
  • Collaborative opportunities between the Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology and Penn State Cancer Institute. The two entities will strengthen their partnership to further learning for both pediatric and adult cancers and better the continuity of care.
  • Competitive research grants. Through the initiative, Penn State Health entities will solicit research requests for proposals with collaborative partners within the health system and College of Medicine, the broader Penn State community and worldwide. The initiative may provide funding for collaborative projects led by College of Medicine investigators with other research institutions.

“We are thrilled to continue and expand on Four Diamonds’ pursuit to find a cure for all pediatric cancers,” said Dr. Yatin Vyas, a pediatric oncologist and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital, whose leadership and vision are helping make this initiative a reality. “We believe philanthropy can ultimately help accelerate the timeline for clinical research and help our investigators discover and get treatments to patients faster. Everyone benefits from a higher level of collaboration, and we are grateful to the generous donors who make this life-saving work possible.”

Vyas will oversee the work of the Four Diamonds Initiative for Childhood Cancer Innovation, and investigators in the Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology have started projects, including developing new, targeted treatments for childhood cancer, enhancing genome readouts to identify prognostic biomarkers earlier and identifying potential relapse.

“The importance of the work of the new Four Diamonds Initiative for Childhood Cancer Innovation cannot be overstated,” said Dr. Kevin Black, interim dean of Penn State College of Medicine. “With the support of Four Diamonds through THON, hundreds of Mini-THONs and thousands of donors, our investigators will expand on their already impressive work toward curing childhood cancers and improving existing treatments.”

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