Celebrating One Year: The Mario Lemieux Institute for Pediatric Cancer Research

The following is a message from Rachel A. Petrucelli, President of UPMC Children’s Hospital Foundation

Dear friends:

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month — a time to recognize and support all the courageous children and families battling pediatric cancer, as well as the medical staff who work tirelessly to advance innovative care, treatment, research, and cures.

While more children than ever before are surviving pediatric cancer, there are still many children who do not survive their illness. Furthermore, survivors often live with significant side effects of treatment for the rest of their lives. To spark groundbreaking enhancements in care, patient outcomes, and long-term quality of life for survivors, UPMC Children’s Hospital Foundation is on a mission to raise $10 million to transform pediatric cancer research at our hospital. One year ago, the Mario Lemieux Foundation made a $5 million gift toward this vision, establishing the Mario Lemieux Institute for Pediatric Cancer Research.

While we are still advancing toward our $10 million goal, support from the Mario Lemieux Foundation and other generous donors is already helping to translate bold ideas into breakthroughs. Fueled by philanthropy, our researchers are:

  • Discovering new therapies to fight treatment-resistant Ewing sarcoma.
  • Progressing toward clinical trials of novel treatments for pediatric brain tumors.
  • Developing new, non-invasive techniques to monitor immunotherapy.
  • And pursuing numerous other studies that could revolutionize cancer treatment for patients, survivors, and their families.

NIH funding for pediatric cancer is limited, and laboratories are required to present substantial initial data to receive competitive funding. This can make it challenging for early-stage studies — even those with incredible promise and potential — to progress. By supporting the Mario Lemieux Institute, generous donors are closing this gap and giving scientists critical momentum in their pursuit of lifesaving medicine. UPMC Children’s provides care to more than 8,000 children diagnosed with cancer, inpatient and outpatient, each year. Every single child deserves to win the fight against their disease and live a full, healthy life. We at the Foundation are proud to support the medical staff who are dedicated to realizing this vision, and we’re grateful to every donor who has shown their support!