The Texas Children’s Cancer Center has opened a new space to develop more effective diagnostics and therapeutic approaches for Ewing Sarcoma in chldren. The goal of the new Faris D. Virani Ewing Sarcoma Center is to help find the cure to the rare childhood disease, in which cancer cells are found in bones or soft issues.
Made possible by a $2 million gift from the Virani family, the center will be directed by Dr. Jason Yustein, assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, and will honor Asha and Farid Virani’s son Faris. During the event that has celebrated the Virani family’s gift, Faris, who has been fighting Ewing sarcoma, presented Yustein with a piggy bank containing $1,000.
Over the past 30 to 40 years, only marginal advancements have been made in the care and management of patients with Ewing sarcoma due to the lack of understanding of its biology. “There has been a lack of new chemotherapeutic agents introduced for patients with this disease and current treatments are extremely intensive and often have both short- and long-term side effects that can negatively impact lifestyle and quality of life for these patients,” said Yustein.
Learn more about Ewing Sarcoma.
In the U.S., Ewing sarcoma is the second most common bone tumor in childhood. Usually, large bones are the most affected, such as the hip, shin, chest, and arm bones. “Unfortunately, a significant number of patients with Ewing sarcoma experience metastasis, or disease that has spread to multiple sites in their body,” added the center’s director.
On one of the walls of the new laboratory, people can read a quote from Faris, “Mommy, cancer is not hard.” His mother explained the reason, “if a 7-year-old boy can say that about cancer, then surely the cure for cancer cannot be hard, we just need conviction.”
This is not the first initiative in Texas to tackle Ewing sarcoma. Back in December, BioNews Texas reported on a new clinical trial at the Mary Crowley Research Center that is testing the efficacy of a cancer vaccine for the disease.