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August 31st, 2007

The Penelope & Sam Fund for Neuroblastoma Research

by You the Reader

An open letter to the community:

Parents of two young patients have established The Penelope and Sam Fund for Neuroblastoma Research at the Vermont Cancer Center at the University of Vermont and Fletcher Allen Health Care. Approximately 650 children are diagnosed each year with neuroblastoma, an often-fatal form of cancer that occurs in infants and young children. Giselle Sholler, MD, a pediatric oncologist and assistant professor of pediatrics, and her colleagues at the Vermont Cancer Center are currently conducting basic science studies, as well as a Phase 1 clinical trial, to identify new treatments for children with the most aggressive form of neuroblastoma.

A Message from Penelope and Sam’s Parents:

“Neuroblastoma is a mean, nasty disease. As parents, we wanted to work with an organization that really embraced our role as advocates and partners in continuing forward momentum in treatment and in research for new therapies. At the Vermont Cancer Center–one of only 39 NCI-designated comprehensive cancer institutions in the nation–we are viewed as an important part of not only the care team but also the research team in the development of less-toxic and more-effective therapies for relapsed neuroblastoma. We hope that this model of partnership with parents will become the norm and will lead to better treatments and even cures for this terrible disease and others. Please lend your voice to ours and help us offer hope to parents and children diagnosed with neuroblastoma.” –John & Catherine London and Neil & Margot Hutchison

Facts about Childhood Cancer and Neuroblastoma:


*     Childhood cancer affects about 1 in 7,000 children
*     Cancer is the leading cause of disease-related deaths in childhood
*     Neuroblastoma is the most common cancer in infants
*     Neuroblastoma is the most common extra-cranial solid tumor in children
*     About 90 percent of neuroblastoma patients are less than 5 years of age
*     Roughly 650 children are diagnosed with neuroblastoma each year
*     Approximately 350 to 400 children die from neuroblastoma each year
*     Despite the current treatment of chemotherapy, surgery, autologous bone marrow transplant and radiation, survival remains below 30 percent for aggressive forms of neuroblastoma.

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