CureSearch and Love Your Melon partner to advance childhood cancer research

CureSearch and Love Your Melon partner to advance childhood cancer research 

At CureSearch, we’re dedicated to bringing childhood cancer patients to the forefront of drug development, but we can’t do it alone. Long-term impact will require collaboration among industry leaders and organizations also dedicated to ending childhood cancer. 

Funding partners like Love Your Melon allow us to support innovative research projects that will lead to new treatments for the 17,000 kids diagnosed with cancer every year. 

A Hat for Every Child 

Entrepreneurs Zachary Quinn and Brian Keller didn’t want to just start a business. They wanted to make a meaningful and positive social impact on the world. During an entrepreneurship class at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, they developed the idea for an apparel company with one goal – give a hat to every child battling cancer in America.  

After surpassing their first goal of giving 45,000 hats away to children battling cancer, they set a new goal to begin funding meaningful research, therapeutic experiences and family support. Love Your Melon just celebrated its ninth birthday and to date, has given more than 232,000 beanies through giving events and hospital visits and over $8.3 million to nonprofit organizations across the United States, like CureSearch, that lead the fight against pediatric cancer for children and families battling pediatric cancer.  

A History of Support 

Love Your Melon donates 50% of net profit from all sales to nonprofit organizations around the world that lead the fight against childhood cancer, including CureSearch. In 2015, the company awarded a grant to CureSearch Young Investigator Kara Davis, DO, of Stanford University to support her work in identifying differences between healthy B-cells and those involved in the development of B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).  

Love Your Melon also supported the work of CureSearch Catapult Award recipient Ranjit Bindra, MD, PhD, of Yale University. Dr. Bindra is testing a novel treatment for pediatric glioma, an aggressive brain cancer with a five-year survival rate of less than 25%. His clinical trial is now active at seven different sites. In the next six months, Dr. Bindra’s team aims to open his trial at five additional Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC) sites.  

The Love Your Melon team has also participated in CureSearch fundraising events like the Ultimate Hike. In 2018, the team laced up for the Superior Hiking Trail Ultimate Hike and helped raise more than $110,000 for childhood cancer research.  

On the Cutting-Edge  

Recently, Love Your Melon granted $100,000 to support a CureSearch-funded immunotherapy trial for pediatric high-grade glioma. High-grade gliomas are the primary cause of death in children with brain tumors and among the most devastating pediatric cancer diagnoses with a median survival of less than two years. The current standard of care involves surgery, radiation therapy and some combination of chemotherapy. There has not been a significant improvement in survival in decades. 

Elias Sayour, MD, PhD, of the University of Florida is leading a first-in-human, phase I/II clinical trial testing an innovative personalized immunotherapy for pediatric high-grade gliomas. Like a flu vaccine, which takes pieces of the flu virus and activates the immune system against them, Dr. Sayour’s technique takes pieces of a tumor’s genetic material and activates the immune system to identify and destroy that tumor. If high-grade glioma, a hard-to-treat tumor type, is responsive to this immunotherapy, the treatment will likely translate to other pediatric and adult solid tumors as well. 

To date, Love Your Melon has donated more than $8.3 million to nonprofits around the globe to support childhood cancer research, therapeutic experiences, and family support.  

“On behalf of the families battling pediatric cancer, we enthusiastically thank Love Your Melon for their generous support of Dr. Sayour’s research to find new treatments for deadly primary high-grade gliomas,” said Kay Koehler, president and CEO of CureSearch. “Together, we’re creating a brighter future for pediatric cancer patients and their families.” 

Click here to learn more about Dr. Sayour’s project. To purchase a Love Your Melon hat or request a hat for a child you know battling cancer, visit https://loveyourmelon.com/.  

 

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