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Riley Donors Fuel IU Research Milestone

Riley Donors Fuel Research

Donors who support pediatric research at Riley have contributed to a significant milestone. The Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center (IUSCC) has achieved comprehensive status, making it the only National Cancer Institute-Designated comprehensive cancer center in Indiana.

“While this designation is a great milestone accomplishment, it could not have been obtained without donor funding for Riley and its pediatric cancer research programs,” said Mark R. Kelley, Ph.D., associate director of the IUSCC and program leader of Pediatric Molecular Oncology and Experimental Therapeutics at the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research (Riley Hospital’s research program). “The work of our pediatric oncology faculty with Riley/IU School of Medicine uses support from donors to push their research from the lab into the clinic to help children fight cancer. Donors help our physician-scientists explore new ideas and conduct preliminary studies so they can obtain larger federal grants.”

In celebrating the comprehensive status designation for the IUSCC, Dr. Kelley credits 20 Riley/IUSM Pediatrics faculty members who are also leaders in the IUSCC, including:

• Department of Pediatrics Chair Wade Clapp, M.D., who is leading the first and only pediatric Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) project looking at cancer signaling pathways

• Wells Center Cancer Investigator Karen Pollok, Ph.D.

• Riley Precision Genomics Director Jamie Renbarger, M.D.

• Wells Center Hematologic Malignancies and Stem Cell Biology Investigator Reuben Kapur, Ph.D.

“We’re so appreciative of the support from Riley Children’s Foundation,” said Dr. Clapp. “Donors’ gifts have helped us recruit and develop pediatric scientists to contribute to the broad excellence in cancer research and care required to be a Comprehensive Cancer Center. This award to the IU School of Medicine provides laboratory and clinical research infrastructure that supports our ability to conduct clinical trials, thus leveraging the resources from Riley Children’s Foundation.”

Support for pediatric research and patient care is the largest fundraising priority of Be the Hope NOW: The Campaign for Kids, through which Riley Children’s Foundation aims to raise more than $175 million by June 2020. “The partnership between Riley Children’s Foundation, the Wells Center, and the Indiana University Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center is critical for the development of new discoveries and treatments,” said Dr. Kelley.

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