Posted: April 5, 2018
Visionary, thought leader, philanthropist – these are just a few words that describe Dr. Stuart Siegel, CureSearch’s Chairman of the Board. His support of CureSearch can be traced back to the beginning of our organization when, as a pediatric oncologist, he saw first-hand the urgent need to end children’s cancer. Dr. Siegel wanted to use his extensive knowledge and experience to help break down the barriers that impede drug development. Presently, Siegel remains steadfast in his support of the CureSearch strategy and works alongside the staff team to fill the gaps in the system and ensure new drugs are developed for children with cancer.
Siegel first became interested in the area of pediatric cancer asa resident at the University of Minnesota. This was during the 1960s, when mortality rates for pediatric cancer were extremely high; he saw that the field was overwhelmed with countless unanswered questions and he was driven to participate in finding solutions. His commitment dates back to a time when industry leaders like him were just starting to understand how to treat pediatric cancers. In just one example, Siegel was among those who pioneered the use of sterile environments for patients getting intense chemo or bone marrow transplants.
From developing the first pediatric protective environment in 1971 for children undergoing intensive chemotherapy to pioneering academic and clinical care programs nationally and locally for adolescents and young adults with cancer, Siegel’s contributions have revolutionized the field of pediatric oncology. He has been the recipient of numerous awards from major organizations around the world for his efforts to end children’s cancer. Although his list of accomplishments is vast, he’s not done effectuating change.
“Most people are aware of the fact that we’ve had tremendous improvement of survival rates for childhood cancer, however, those strides come at a price,” said Siegel. “Two-thirds of those patients have one or more side effects as a result of their treatment and at least half of these can be life-threatening side effects. We need to find a way to treat them without the side effects or with less of an impact on their lives and long-term health.”
Siegel has played an integral role in the implementation of CureSearch’s strategy to address issues in the pediatric research space and to identify ways to overcome them. With the help of thought leadership, CureSearch is changing status quo to advance the strongest children’s cancer research so treatments are widely available for the children who need it most. Siegel explained that CureSearch plays a crucial role in bringing all the stakeholders together to make this possible.
He also noted that by convening philanthropists, academia, industry, individuals and other stakeholders in a coordinated effort, CureSearch leads in catapulting new treatments – a major focus of the 2018 Catapult Summit. This annual conference brings together industry leaders who are committed to accelerating the development of pediatric cancer treatments.
“I grew up in the 1960s and 70s when the pediatric population was the first to see new drugs. That has changed dramatically and I felt we really needed to try to stimulate the industry and get over these barriers to develop drugs for pediatric cancer. Until CureSearch came along, no one was really focused on this from a research or development perspective.”
Siegel is currently the Chairman of the Board for the Health Care Foundation for Ventura County. He is also a member of the Global Board of Ronald McDonald House Charities. He has been involved with numerous philanthropic efforts across the country to support pediatric cancer research and has published over 250+ peer review publications in the areas of pediatric cancer and blood diseases. He has been heavily involved in international health programs and helped develop the Institute for Pediatric Oncology at Moscow.
Learn more about CureSearch’s Board of Directors.
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