Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation Announces Launch of Country’s First Bioinformatics Lab Using ‘Big Data’ to Cure Childhood Cancer

 

I wanted to take a moment to share some of the origin story of the Childhood Cancer Data Lab. This guest post from Liz Romaine of ALSF discusses the vision behind the lab at the time of its inception in the summer of 2016.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), a leading national childhood cancer charity, announced that that it will open a state-of-the-art bioinformatics lab, using ‘big data’ to advance the pace of childhood cancer research. This announcement comes as Liz Scott, co-executive director of ALSF and Alex’s mom, attends the National Cancer Moonshot Summit in Washington, D.C., hosted by Vice President and Dr. Biden as a participant and advocate of pediatric cancer research and awareness.

The bioinformatics lab will utilize data scientists, computer scientists, bio-informaticians, computational biologists and other scientists to analyze and decipher the huge amount of childhood cancer data being generated in research facilities across the country. The first informatics lab of its kind, discoveries will be shared to inform more research, find targets and develop new cures. By leveraging data, it will be a resource for ALSF funded researchers to provide first rate analysis of their data to further enhance their ability to accelerate cures.

“We are excited to be able to harness the power of big data and open the ALSF Data Lab,” said Jay Scott, co-executive director and Alex’s dad. “Currently, the childhood cancer research community does not have a non-affiliated center to objectively analyze existing science and look for patterns to share with scientists. This is a true privilege to be able to offer this resource to the community and ultimately advance the pace of finding cures. We anticipate this new model of improving research to be up and running in the next 12 to 18 months.”

In addition to announcing the establishment of the bioinformatics lab, ALSF also revealed its commitment to doubling its investment for childhood cancer research projects and family services to $150 million in the next 5 years. Kids and their families, businesses and other supporters do a simple action - hold a lemonade stand - to support the cause, among other ways.

In combination, these two initiatives will address three of the primary goals of the Moonshot Initiative and will make significant progress in providing better treatments for children with cancer. The goal of the Cancer Moonshot is to accelerate the rate of progress in cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care over the next five years and to ultimately end cancer as we know it. Vice President Joe Biden called for the Summit, happening June 29 at Howard University, to bring communities together to discuss how cancer affects them and collaborate on ways to push forward. Researchers, doctors, scientists, philanthropists, advocates, patients and survivors are invited to attend the event. Liz Scott will be participating in discussions on clinical trials, treatments, philanthropy and advocacy.

About Childhood Cancer

Childhood cancer is a general term used to describe cancer in children occurring regularly, randomly and sparing no ethnic group, socioeconomic class, or geographic region. Childhood cancer extends to over a dozen types of cancers and a countless amount of subtypes. Just a few of these cancer types include: Ewing’s sarcoma, glioma, leukemia, lymphoma, medulloblastoma, neuroblastoma, osteosarcoma, retinoblastoma, rhabdomyosarcoma and Wilms’ tumor. In the United States, childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15. Every day, approximately 250 kids around the world die from cancer, accounting for 91,250 losing their lives to the disease every year.

About Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) emerged from the front yard lemonade stand of cancer patient Alexandra “Alex” Scott (1996-2004). In 2000, 4-year-old Alex announced that she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. Since Alex held that first stand, the Foundation bearing her name has evolved into a national fundraising movement, complete with thousands of supporters across the country carrying on her legacy of hope. To date, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a registered 501©3 charity, has raised more than $120 million toward fulfilling Alex’s dream of finding a cure, funding over 550 pediatric cancer research projects nationally. For more information on Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, visit AlexsLemonade.org.

 
Casey Greene