Precious children who are fighting cancer placed diminutive handprints of red, blue and green on a Hyundai Tucson Sept. 13 at University Hospital, helping the Health Science Center and University Health System celebrate a new $250,000 Hyundai Scholar Grant for pediatric cancer research.
Hyundai Hope On Wheels® and San Antonio-area Hyundai dealers presented the 2016 Scholar Grant to advance care and increase treatment options for children with liver cancer. Gail Tomlinson, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pediatrics, chief of pediatric hematology/oncology and Greehey Distinguished Chair in Cancer and Genetics at the Health Science Center, is the principal investigator of the new scholar grant.
UT Health Science Center was one of 24 recipients across the country selected by a rigorous scientific review panel to receive the highly competitive award. The grant was announced at University Hospital, the Health Science Center’s clinical partner for pediatric care for the region.
This is the eighth year of Hyundai grants to the Health Science Center. Previous awards have supported core research facilities, trainees, psychosocial research, survivorship studies and basic research in the laboratory, Dr. Tomlinson said.
The new grant project seeks to translate research discoveries into improved care, she said.
“We are pretty good at curing about 75 percent of children with cancer, but about 25 percent of them simply cannot be cured because their disease doesn’t respond to therapy,” Dr. Tomlinson said. “This grant will target that 25 percent of very young infants and young children.”
Instead of focusing on cancer as one disease, researchers study molecular pathways, she said. “What we find for one tumor type may benefit treatment of another,” she said.
The group’s research is conducted at the Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute, part of the UT Health Science Center.
“Hope on Wheels is one of the best things we do as a dealer,” said Jim Willis of World Car Hyundai in San Antonio. “This initiative is at the very core of who we are, and it reflects our desire to make a difference in the lives of those for whom we care so deeply.”
Willis congratulated the Health Science Center and University Hospital on receiving the grant and for serving the region’s children. “We know that by working together, we can achieve our goal of a day without pediatric cancer,” he said.
“Our mission at Hyundai Hope On Wheels is clear: end childhood cancer,” said Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America. “To all the kids, families and cancer researchers fighting this terrible disease, we say: You are not alone and we remain committed to this important cause.”