THON–Making an Impact


At the Four Diamonds Experimental Therapeutic Program, researchers are studying novel treatments to enhance cure rates for cancers that are resistant to existing treatments, Four Diamonds Fund Director SuzanneGraney said. Other researchers are looking at how genes that contribute to pediatric cancer could be regulated and targeted with new treatments.

Because research has expanded with fundraising from the Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, Hershey can offer phase one and two clinical trials. Its team works in conjunction with Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Investigators’ Consortium , Graney said.

The Four Diamonds Fund supports three research labs.

In one lab, Dr. Barbara Miller is studying blood cell function; in another, Dr. Ken Lucas and researchers use the immune system to fight viral infections and stop the spread of cancer, Graney said.

The majority of funds from the Four Diamonds Fund goes to research. The largest percentage of funds — 59 percent, or $8.5 million — is allocated for future funds for experimental therapeutics, according to figures from the 2009-2010 fiscal year. A little less than $3 million is reserved for future funds for pediatric oncology research. Four percent of the funds — or $615,361 — are used for the research institute, and $377,145 goes toward research grants.

Money raised by the Penn State THON constitutes for 71 percent of source funds for the Four Diamonds Fund, according to figures from the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

Research is a critical component of the Four Diamonds Fund, Kristin Masengarb, Four Diamonds Fund assistant director said.

“We’re fighting for that 100 percent survival rate,” she said.

–Collegian Online

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