CURE Childhood Cancer got its start back in 1975, thanks to Emory University pediatric oncologist, Dr. Abdel Ragab. He needed support to build a pediatric oncology research program. He organized a group of parents of his patients to form CURE and start raising money.
Right out of the gates, CURE raised funds for critical research equipment. In 1978, CURE contributed $20,000 to purchase a special microscope used to diagnose different types of childhood leukemia. Soon after, we began providing support for the training of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology fellows during their research rotations.
During CURE’s early years, the childhood cancer research lab was located at Grady Hospital. But most of Dr. Ragab’s patients were being treated at Emory. In 1981, we provided a significant donation to establish a research lab on the Emory campus. Starting as a temporary facility, that lab grew from a new outpatient clinic in 1987 to a fully equipped childhood cancer research lab in 1989.
As the first of its kind at Emory, this lab was a huge step forward in providing an up-to-date facility with almost 3,500 square feet of space devoted to research of childhood cancer. It represented years of tremendous fundraising efforts. Under Dr. Baxter’s leadership and with CURE’s support, the childhood cancer research program at Emory continued to grow and soon became one of the largest pediatric oncology programs in the country.
CURE Childhood Cancer soon made another great contribution to the treatment of childhood cancer – this time, in the legal arena. While Callaway Thrash, an early patient of Dr. Ragab and the son of one of the first presidents of CURE, was being treated for leukemia, he was unable to obtain insurance coverage for an experimental drug.
After Callaway’s death from leukemia, his father and CURE successfully lobbied the Georgia legislature in support of a bill that would mandate Georgia insurers support experimental therapies for childhood cancer. The passage of Callaway’s Law was a great advance in support of pediatric cancer clinical trials.
CURE continues to fund the testing of new therapies and drugs at Emory, the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and other prominent institutions nationwide. We also support collaborations such as that between Emory and the National Cancer Institute. This partnership led to the testing of a new drug targeted at pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) with very positive results – just one example of many groundbreaking success stories.
To learn more about CURE please visit curechildhoodcancer.org