Mar 08, 2021
From children to seniors, Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation, funds researchers around the world, helping patients with cancer at every age.
In 2016, Mark Applebaum, MD, of the University of Chicago, was awarded a Conquer Cancer Young Investigator Award (YIA) to study novel therapies in neuroblastoma. His current research involves developing epigenetics-based liquid biopsies for children with pediatric solid tumors to identify oncogenic drivers and patients with residual disease during and after treatment. Dr. Applebaum is hopeful that these breakthroughs will lead to more personalized therapies.
“We need to make [patients] do well, but we need to make sure, in my case, in pediatrics, that they’re going to school, seeing their friends, acting like children. That’s so important,” said Dr. Applebaum. Support from Conquer Cancer “ensured I had the money to get my first research project off the ground, a project that would serve as the foundation upon which every other important discovery I’ve made has been built.”
In 2020, Haydeé Verduzco-Aguirre, MD, of Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, recieved a Conquer Cancer Global Oncology Young Investigator Award (GO YIA) to better understand the barriers and facilitators to providing geriatric oncology care in Mexico.
“It can be difficult for young oncologists in many countries, including Mexico, to pursue a research career due to limited local funding opportunities,” said Dr. Verduzco-Aguirre. “The GO YIA allowed me to focus on my research interests as a primary investigator and will help me develop further steps to bring this research closer to patients.”
Optimizing care for older adults has remained on ASCO’s list of Research Priorities to Accelerate Progress Against Cancer since 2019 because the lack of evidence combined with the inherent diversity of aging populations impedes the delivery of high-quality care for the largest and most rapidly growing segment of patients with cancer.
“In addition to the global issues in research in older adults with cancer, geriatric oncology clinics are scarce in low- and middle-income countries, such as Mexico. Furthermore, we do not have information regarding whether cancer care providers in Mexico use information obtained through a geriatric assessment in their routine practice,” Dr. Verduzco-Aguirre explained. “Models of care used in the United States or Europe may not be adequate in our fragmented health care system, so barriers to the implementation of geriatric oncology care need to be addressed as well.”