MILWAUKEE, July 27, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Marking the 10-year anniversary of its Childhood Cancer Program, Northwestern Mutual, through its Foundation, has committed $2 million to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) to support the organization’s Crazy 8 Initiative. As the initiative’s largest funder, Northwestern Mutual’s investment will support research for innovative and rigorous approaches that address the most intractable issues in pediatric cancer research.
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“Ten years ago, our company was inspired by Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, Alex Scott, and her belief that every child with cancer deserves access to quality treatments and cures that were not available to her,” said Northwestern Mutual Foundation President Steve Radke. “In honor of our Childhood Cancer Program’s 10-year anniversary, we are proud to continue supporting Alex’s mission by investing in the Crazy 8 Initiative to advance the search for life-changing treatments and cures for families across the country.”
ALSF’s Crazy 8 Initiative is designed to bring scientists from a variety of disciplines together to collaborate and accelerate the pace of new cure discovery. Northwestern Mutual’s funding will support larger-scale collaborations aimed at creating innovative treatments for incurable cancers, identifying and characterizing challenging cancers and utilizing cellular barcoding to fight pediatric leukemia.
“For 10 years, we are honored that Northwestern Mutual continues to be a steadfast partner to us in its commitment to finding childhood cancer cures,” said Liz Scott, co-executive director of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and Alex’s mom. “Their $2 million commitment to our Crazy 8 Initiative is the latest example of how they are true partners in making sure that all kids with cancer can reach their fullest potential.”
Since 2012, Northwestern Mutual has supported the fight against childhood cancer through its Childhood Cancer Program by donating more than $45 million to support families and survivors and has funded more than 520,000 hours of research with partners like Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and other nonprofit organizations across the United States.
Spotlight: Dr. Yael Mossé, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Cancer Center
Through ALSF’s Crazy 8 Initiative, Dr. Yael Mossé, pediatric oncologist at CHOP’s Cancer Center and professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, is leading a research team of international scientists to develop a drug that directly targets MYCN – the protein that causes many of the most aggressive and lethal pediatric cancers, including high-risk neuroblastoma and medulloblastoma. Dr. Mossé and her team aim to develop the MYCN-directed drug in four years, prove that it is effective against the most lethal pediatric cancers and launch a clinical trial shortly after. Successful completion of this project will lead to curative new drugs for children with currently incurable cancers by targeting an essential protein that, until now, has been deemed undruggable.
Funded by ALSF and grants from Northwestern Mutual, Dr. Mossé also led the research team and clinical trial that resulted in breakthrough research and made treatment possible for Edie Gilger, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when she was six months old. Neuroblastoma is the same cancer Alex Scott had, and recently, a biopsy of Alex’s tumor revealed that her neuroblastoma was caused by a mutation in the same gene that caused Edie’s, and the treatment that cured Edie of her neuroblastoma could have treated Alex’s cancer.
For 10 years, Northwestern Mutual has almost exclusively funded childhood cancer research through ALSF to honor Alex’s mission and legacy, and Edie is proof that this research saves lives.