A Texan mother who lost her little boy to cancer is finding relief, hope, and renewed motivation from a recent announcement from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), stating that the cancer-fighting institution will boost their focus on neglected areas of oncological research, including underfunded studies on childhood cancer.
Annette Leslie, a member of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT)’s Childhood Cancer Advisory Council since 2010, lost her son Carson to brain cancer 5 years ago. It was on Christmas Eve that Carson told his mother, “Momma, make sure they study those tumors in my brain because, if those tumors can help some kid not die from cancer like I am, I’d like that; it’s hard to have cancer.” In fulfillment of her son’s dying wish, she founded the Carson Leslie Foundation’s (CLF) and continues to tenaciously advocate for increased childhood cancer funding as the organization’s Executive Director.
“CPRIT’s research program will seek to fund projects in critical, but underfunded areas of cancer research, in addition to funding investigator-initiated, untargeted proposals,” said Ms. Leslie. “Areas of opportunity for strategic deployment of funds include prevention and early detection research; computational biology and analytic methods; rare cancers, particularly pediatric tumors, and intractable cancers, including lung, liver, pancreatic and brain cancers, with particular emphasis on population disparities and cancers of significance in Texas.”
Leslie adds the CPRIT’s announcement of its new dedication to finding and funding solutions for childhood cancer has helped in her healing over the loss of her son, but more importantly, the increased focus will go a long way in directing much-needed funding to the rarest forms of cancer. Children battling cancer will soon have more effective, but less toxic cancer treatment options that will allow them to live a more normal childhood, free of adverse effects, developmental delays and fear of cancer recurrence.
In other news on childhood cancer, earlier this year, researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC) in San Antonio are looking into the long-term effects of pediatric cancer treatments on adult survivors, particularly on the heart. Enrollment is still open to patients at least 18 years old, not pregnant, diagnosed with cancer before 2009, and that were treated with certain chemotherapy drugs. Clinical sites are located at the UTHealth Science Center, University Health System, and Christus Santa Rosa.