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Kosair gives $12 million to create Childhood Cancer Research Center

August 1st, 2007

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Lenny Sewell, center, Kosair Charities board president, presents $12 million to the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

Kosair Charities announced Wednesday, Aug. 1, that they will give $12 million over six years to create the Kosair Charities Pediatric Cancer Research Center at the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

The gift will establish a one-of-a-kind, world-class research center with the specific goal of developing new drugs that target children’s cancer.

“Treatments and drugs that are only tested on adults can have unexpected and sometimes adverse side effects in kids,” said Donald M. Miller, director of the Brown Cancer Center. “That’s why we felt it was important to focus this program on children.”

Most cancer drugs used to treat children were developed for and tested on adults. A 2005 government study found a “near absence” of research into pediatric cancer drugs. According to the Institute of Medicine, about half of all pediatric cancer drugs are more than 20 years old, and between 1995 and 2005 just one cancer drug received FDA approval for use in children.

“This center will enhance the quality of life for children and their families, creating new treatments that are more effective and less toxic than those currently available,” said UofL President James Ramsey, “We want to give more kids a fighting chance against this horrible disease.”

The Kosair Charities Pediatric Cancer Research Center will seek to become an international leader in the development of new therapies and drugs that target childhood cancer. Six endowed faculty positions will be created with strengths in clinical and translational research to take discoveries from the lab to the patient.

“This project is possible because of the excellence built over the years at the Louisville Medical Center,” said Larry Cook, executive vice president for health affairs. “Bringing the drug development strength of the Brown Cancer Center together with the excellent clinical staff at Norton’s Kosair Children’s Hospital and the tremendous expertise of our Department of Pediatrics will make Louisville a major center for innovation.”

Four pediatric clinical trial fellows will be trained each year, creating one of the largest such training programs in the nation.

“Our commitment to the University of Louisville goes back many years, but our commitment to children goes back even further,” said Lenny Sewell, Kosair Charities board president. “We are excited and optimistic that this center will help children in Louisville, the region and beyond.”

With this announcement, Kosair Charities becomes the third largest single supporter in the history of the University of Louisville, with total giving of more than $23 million. Other areas of support at UofL include pediatric heart research, programs that help children with autism, neurological disorders, sleep disorders, birth defects, infectious diseases, dental problems and children suffering from abuse.

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