Please note that some translations using Google Translate may not be accurately represented and downloaded documents cannot be translated. Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund assume no liability for inaccuracies that may result from using this third-party tool, which is for website translation.
Please note that some translations using Google Translate may not be accurately represented and downloaded documents cannot be translated. Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund assume no liability for inaccuracies that may result from using this third-party tool, which is for website translation.

Hyundai Hope On Wheels invests in innovative treatments for children

Spring 2024
By Caroline de Lacvivier
Photography by Debbie Gravina Photography

Since 1998, Hyundai Motor America and Hyundai Hope On Wheels have represented a powerful engine of support for pediatric cancer research. As part of its mission, Hyundai has a longstanding partnership with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, both as a presenting sponsor of the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk for more than two decades, and as a major grant funder, contributing nearly $17 million to propel the Institute’s pediatric cancer research. In 2023, HHOW made two grants totaling $650,000 to Rani George, MD, PhD, and Nina Weichert-Leahey, MD.

With her funds, George is studying a potential therapeutic vulnerability for metastatic osteosarcoma, a hard-to-treat bone cancer most common in adolescents and young adults, characterized by impaired DNA repair mechanisms. Her hypothesis is that metastatic osteosarcoma cells depend on CDC5L, a protein that prevents the accumulation of deleterious levels of DNA damage, thereby allowing these cancer cells to proliferate. George suspects that this dependency could be targeted with compounds known as degraders, which could bring a new treatment to a patient population that has not seen an improved survival rate in 40 years.

“We are grateful to the dedicated researchers, doctors, and medical institutions receiving grants as we work together to move closer to a cure.”

John Guastaferro, Hyundai Hope On Wheels
John Guastaferro (right) presents a check to Dana-Farber researchers on behalf of Hyundai Hope On Wheels.

Weichert-Leahey is leveraging her grant to explore combination therapies to boost the effects of retinoic acid in neuroblastoma, a pediatric tumor of the network of nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. While retinoic acid is an effective maintenance therapy for patients with high-risk neuroblastoma, resistance develops, leading to disease relapse. Weichert-Leahey believes that KAT6 inhibition may enhance the effects of retinoic acid, and given that KAT6 inhibitors are already in clinical development for adult tumors, has significant potential for translation in pediatrics.

“Over the past 25 years, Hyundai Hope On Wheels has been creating hope for families facing childhood cancer by investing in life-saving research, treatment, and support,” said John Guastaferro, executive director, Hyundai Hope On Wheels. “To date, we have contributed $225 million in our mission to end childhood cancer. We are grateful to the dedicated researchers, doctors, and medical institutions receiving grants as we work together to move closer to a cure.”

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