Protecting Their Future - Summer 2017 Impact Report

CureSearch Mission

Our mission is to end children's cancer by driving targeted and innovative research with measurable results in an accelerated time frame.

CureSearch Vision

Improve children's cancer treatment and cures to deliver the potential for childhood cancer patients to lead long, healthy lives.

Message from the CEO

When I first began my position as President and CEO of CureSearch in 2012, I was already passionate about advancing healthcare through bold and innovative ideas. But my passion only grew when I learned that for several complex obstacles, great research was not turning into new treatments for children.

Childhood cancer continues to be the #1 disease killer of children, and in the last 20 years, there have only been three cancer treatments specifically developed and approved for children.

This means most children are treated with dose-adjusted adult treatments and that most survivors experience devastating side effects of their too-toxic treatments. There is simply a lack of effective, less-toxic treatments available to children who need them the most.

This is because of many reasons - lack of collaboration between academia and the pharmaceutical industry, small pediatric cancer population sizes, and a challenging clinical trial system. But the main reason is because children's cancer research often dies in the "Valley of Death" - the gap before clinical testing and drug development, where research falls without the funding and support to launch clinical trials and become commercialized treatments, broadly available to children.

Knowing all of this, and acknowledging that we have the dedication, expertise, and team of experts needed to accelerate the commercialization of children's cancer treatments, we created the CureSearch Catapult Strategy.

Our goal: to protect the future of children diagnosed with cancer by delivering better, less toxic treatments.

As parents, we never want to see our child hurting, in pain, or struggling to succeed. As humans, we want the same for any other child, especially one diagnosed with cancer. That is why we created Catapult.

I hope you will join us in this journey to catapult great research out of the lab and into the clinic to save children NOW.

Laura Thrall
CureSearch for Children's Cancer

The CureSearch Difference

We focus exclusively on children's cancer.

We're not just here to fund research, we're here to drive patient impact.

We provide children and families with the tools and resources they need to battle cancer today, while advancing new + better treatments to protect their future.

We catapult great research out of the laboratory, over the 'Valley of Death' and into clinical trials and commercialization, to the point where new treatments broadly reach children.

We convene leaders across sectors (academia, pharmaceutical industry, regulatory agencies, patients) to collaboratively advance better, less toxic treatments.

Our Brain Trust is unmatched through our Scientific, Industry and Catapult Advisory Councils.

We invest in large-scale, multi-year grants, which allow our researchers to focus on their work, not fundraising.

We hold ourselves - and CureSearch researchers - accountable through a novel measurement framework and frequent reporting to our constituents.

We build strong, long-term partnerships with our funded researchers so that successful work is supported beyond the scope of their original CureSearch grant.

Propelling Discoveries with CureSearch Catapult

In the past 20 years, few treatments for children's cancer have been approved because children's cancer research often dies in what is known as the 'Valley of Death.' This high potential research rarely makes it into human clinical trials and commercialization, the point at which treatments are broadly available to children.

CureSearch for Children's Cancer will catapult great research out of the lab and into the clinic to quickly advance better, less toxic treatments to children.

Catapult Strategy Infographic

The Catapult strategy extends the continuum of children's cancer research, building on our existing interventions in the research pipeline through the Young Investigators portfolio (early-stage discovery) and the Acceleration Initiative (translational research).

Now, through the Catapult Strategy, we will arm researchers with the funding, knowledge and connections to catapult promising treatments out of academia and into pediatric clinical trials and eventual commercialization. In this way, CureSearch will advance better, less toxic treatments to children, ensuring they not only survive cancer, but also live long, healthy lives.

Learn More About CureSearch Catapult

CureSearch Collaboration

Neutral Convener
In the complex world of children's cancer research, no independent organization currently coordinates efforts between academic scientists, drug developers and policy regulators to advance new treatments. Through Catapult, CureSearch is proud to play the role of convener and collaborator to bring these key parties together in a way that is singularly focused on accelerating the commercialization of children's cancer treatments to save children NOW.

CureSearch Brain Trust - Our Councils

CureSearch relies on the expertise of leading clinicians, scientists, industry experts and business leaders to inform the Catapult Strategy by providing objective expertise and thought-leadership:

Scientific Advisory Council

Sets the academic priorities for Catapult and evaluates projects on scientific merit.

Dr O'Reilly

Led by
Richard O'Reilly, MD

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Industry Advisory Council

Champions pediatric cancer within industry, evaluates projects on likelihood of development, and provides industry expertise to Catapult researchers.

Dr Rousseau

Led by
Raphaël Rousseau,

Gritstone Oncology

Scientific Review Committee

Provides rigorous peer review of research proposals, evaluating: scientific merits, innovation, unmet need and clinical impacts.

Dr Sallan

Led by
Stephen Sallan, MD

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Catapult Advisory Council

Supports the development and operation of the Catapult Impact Fund.

Kathy Wanner

Led by
Kathy Wanner

Abundant Venture Partners

Meet Our Council Members

The Catapult Summit
Menlo Park, CA

Convening the right players to save children NOW

The 2nd Annual Catapult Summit took place on February 26 and 27, 2017. CureSearch convened 80 key stakeholders from academia, industry, regulatory agencies, venture capital and advocacy to move Catapult to the next level and drive more treatments to the clinic and into commercialization.

Read More About the Summit



CureSearch Research Programs Accelerate Drug Development

Our research programs are designed to drive promising discoveries from academic labs into the clinic, leading to drug development and commercialization. CureSearch invests in high-impact, innovative research projects to accelerate the delivery of more, less toxic treatments to children. These projects represent the research pipeline continuum from basic drug discovery, preclinical development, all the way to clinical trials, drug development and commercialization.

Young Investigators

The Young Investigators portfolio provides seed funding for early discovery-stage researchers to keep the brightest minds working in pediatric cancer while arming them with the tools and knowledge to pursue drug development.

Since 2012, CureSearch has invested $2.55M in the Young Investigator Program, funding 18 awards leading to new discoveries and potential new treatments for kids.

Young Investigator Cumulative Impacts

Young Investigator Pipeline - 300 new drug targets, 37 new tumor models, 15 new drugs in preclinical testing, 3 clinical trials

Young Investigator Program in Drug Development

To support and educate Young Investigators in pediatric cancer drug development, CureSearch launched a Request for Applications in May 2017. Features of the program:

1) Focus on 6 high-risk disease areas including brain, leukemia, neuroblastoma, sarcoma, bone and other high-risk areas, 2) focus on early stage drug discovery and drug development, and 3) educational webinar series in drug development for researchers.

Grant applications will be reviewed by our Scientific and Industry Advisory Councils to select projects with the highest impact and highest potential for drug development and commercialization. Applications will be reviewed over the summer and awards will be announced later this year.

Learn More About Our Young Investigator Program

Acceleration Initiative

The Acceleration Initiative addresses the largest obstacles in children's cancer research, driving translational research to the clinic in a short time frame. Grant applications are reviewed by our Scientific and Industry Advisory Councils to ensure the highest impact research and highest potential for drug development and commercialization.

Since 2013, CureSearch has awarded 6 AI grants totaling nearly $7M that are moving the needle towards clinical application of new treatments.

Acceleration Initiative Cumulative Impacts

Acceleration Initiative Pipeline - 3 novel gene signatures in pediatric sarcoma, 1 novel gene signature in MB, 12 new therapeutic targets, 15 preclinical models, 1 novel cell therapy, 1 novel imaging study, 9 new drugs in preclinical testing, 1 IND application, 1 pediatric clinical trial in Ewing sarcoma
Learn More About Our Acceleration Initiative

Catapult Impact Fund Awards

The Catapult Impact Fund Awards will:

  • Provide funding for "clinic-ready" Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials in pediatric cancer that test novel agents or combinations of therapies for areas of highest unmet need.
  • Support investigator-initiated and collaborative trials between academia and industry, de-risk projects from small biotech companies and spin-out companies to develop drugs for pediatric indications.
  • Help CureSearch launch a general Catapult Award Request for Applications later this year.

The Catapult Ignition Project is the First of Our Catapult Impact Fund Awards

We are evaluating two projects as finalists. A decision on the final project will be made later this summer.

Learn More About Catapult Impact Fund Awards

Community Impact Awards

  • CureSearch is committed to protecting the future of every child with cancer. This goes far beyond treatment. We know that patients, and their families, need help to cope with the burdens of diagnosis, treatment and survivorship. That is why we support local hospitals to provide psychosocial services to patients and families.
  • In 2015 and 2016, CureSearch supported 27 projects at hospitals across the US through our Community Impact Awards, totaling over $600,000.
  • CureSearch is proud to continue the program in 2017. A new request for applications will open in July and awards will be announced in the Fall.

Learn More About Community Impact Awards


Our work would not be possible without the extraordinary support of the following partners, including their generous employees and customers:

Catapult Partners


Research Grant Partners

Mathile Family Foundation

Corn Endowment (Georgia Regents University)

Co-funding Partners

Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy
Alan B. Slifka Foundation

Rising Tide For Clinical Cancer Research

Corporate Partners

Love Your Melon, Kiewit, Mattel, ebay Giving Works, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, CWF, tripadvisor, The Mighty

Donor Funds & Gifts

We are grateful to the families who have established a Champion or Legacy Fund to honor their child:

  • Jacob Koenigs 'Jakefest' Memorial Fund and Kiewit
  • Joey Keller Legacy Fund
  • Nick Currey Fund
  • Amy Miller Champion Fund
  • Luke McGuire Legacy Fund
  • Danielle's Roses Champion Fund
  • Hammond Family Fund
  • Eloise Dodge Gould Legacy Fund
Honor Your Child with a Legacy or Champion Fund

We are honored that these people have become members of the Legacy Society by including CureSearch in their will or trust:

The Howard and Janet Emery Living Trust
Jean B. Michael
Robert T. Ridley

Include CureSearch in Your Will or Estate Plan


CureSearch Superheroes Unite!

We kicked off our new Superheroes Unite! program this year with three great events so far: Miami, Southwest Michigan, and Omaha. We have 13 more events scheduled this year, so there's still time to get involved.

Sign Up

CureSearch Ultimate Hike

Hike events are off to a great start this year! The Foothills Ultimate Hike broke attendance records and was our most attended hike event to date - with 67 participants. We have four more Hikes for 2017.

Get Involved

CureSearch Ultimate Hike

We've had some exciting Gold events this year to date, including a BBQ & Auction Fundraiser in Tennessee that raised over $18,000 for children's cancer research! There are more creative DIY events planned for the rest of the year, and we can't wait to see their success.

Register Today

CureSearch Ultimate Hike

Whether you're training for a major marathon, getting a fitness group together at work, or encouraging your whole neighborhood to walk a mile together, you can add meaning to your miles through CureSearch Challenge. Find an endurance event near you today.

Find an Event