LOS ANGELES, Dec. 4, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The St. Baldrick's Foundation, the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, is proud to announce Dr. Susan Cohn, M.D., dean for Clinical Research at the University of Chicago Medicine & Biological Sciences, professor of pediatrics and section chief Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Pediatrics, as the newest member of its board of directors. As a leading pediatric oncologist at UChicago Medicine, Dr. Cohn brings years of leadership and executive expertise to the Foundation.
"As a dedicated research scientist in the field of pediatric cancer, Dr. Cohn is committed to seeking and progressing advancements in the field of childhood cancer research," said Michael McCreesh, chairman of the St. Baldrick's Foundation board of directors. "Her expansive knowledge and experience will bring a new perspective to the leadership of the Foundation's board, and we are pleased to have her join."
Dr. Cohn has devoted her career to caring for children with neuroblastoma and conducting clinical and translational research focused on developing more effective treatments. She carried out her pediatric training at Michael Reese Hospital & Medical Center in Chicago and her pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship training at Children's Memorial Hospital (now the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital) at Northwestern University in Chicago.
Appointed as the first chair of the Children's Oncology Group (COG) Neuroblastoma Disease Committee in 2000, Dr. Cohn worked with colleagues to develop a risk-classification system for treatment classification and led the team in a series of risk-based clinical trials for treatments for children with neuroblastoma. These studies have led to new standards of care with reduced therapy exposures for children with low- and intermediate-risk disease, and improved survival for high-risk patients with intensive, multi-modality therapy.
Dr. Cohn also serves as the co-chair of the International Neuroblastoma Risk Group (INRG) task force with Dr. Andrew Pearson from the UK, and she played a key role in establishing the INRG classification system, which was based on the statistical analysis of data from over 8,800 patients cared for around the world. Drs. Cohn and Pearson recognized the value of this large patient cohort to the neuroblastoma research community and these data are available to investigators interested in conducting neuroblastoma clinical research studies. More recently, with support from a St. Baldrick's Foundation Consortium Grant, Drs. Cohn and Pearson have worked with Dr. Volchenboum and Dr. Grossman at the University of Chicago to develop the INRG Data Commons. This ecosystem enables linkage of the clinical cohort information with genomic and biobank data, enabling the conduct of more complex research studies that will further advance our understanding of neuroblastoma pathogenesis, and may, ultimately, lead to the development of more effective treatment for children with neuroblastoma.
In addition to being co-chair of INRG and holding seats on boards for organizations such as American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), Dr. Cohn has served as president of the Advances in Neuroblastoma Research Association and received the 2016 ASCO Pediatric Oncology Award.
Dr. Cohn joins the eight-member board that is responsible for the overall governance of the Foundation, reviewing and approving the allocation of funds, and ensuring that the Foundation is diligently working toward its mission.
"The St. Baldrick's Foundation has had the pleasure of funding Dr. Cohn's research of pediatric cancers for many years, and we are thrilled to welcome her as the newest member of our board of directors," said Kathleen Ruddy, CEO of the St. Baldrick's Foundation. "Her understanding of childhood cancers, as well as her personal commitment to collaboration in the neuroblastoma research community will bring valuable insight to our scientific advisory committee and ensure we are funding the best research, no matter where it takes place."
The St. Baldrick's Foundation also recognizes Amy Bucher and Bill Gerber for serving on the St. Baldrick's board and helping to advance the St. Baldrick's mission. Both Amy and Bill have witnessed the devastating effects of childhood cancer through their own child's journey and continue to raise funds and advocate for continued funding of childhood cancer research.
About St. Baldrick's Foundation As the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, the St. Baldrick's Foundation believes that kids are special and deserve to be treated that way. St. Baldrick's is leading the charge to take childhood back from cancer by funding some of the most brilliant childhood cancer research experts who are working to find cures and better treatments for all childhood cancers. Kids need treatments as unique as they are – and that starts with funding research just for them. Join us at StBaldricks.org to help support the best cancer treatments for kids.