Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation gives $1 million to bring precision medicine to pediatric patients.

Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation gives $1 million to bring precision medicine to pediatric patients.

America runs on Dunkin’, and the Jimmy Fund is proud to run on the support of the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation, a longtime partner in the fight against cancer.

This year, through their annual golf tournament, the Dunkin’ Joy | NDCP Golf Classic held on August 9, 2021, Dunkin’ Joy raised an incredible $1 million to fund precision medicine for pediatric cancer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, an important strategic priority of the Institute and of The Dana-Farber Campaign. The tournament is annually sponsored by Dunkin’ Franchisees, NDCP, suppliers, and business partners who share in the desire to improve treatment options for pediatric patients at Dana-Farber and around the world.

The 2021 event attracted more than 250 golfers who were treated to a Margaritaville-themed day of golf, a live auction led by NHL Hall of Famer and Boston Bruins legend Ray Bourque, and a post-event dinner with remarks by Scott Armstrong, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Pediatric Oncology at Dana-Farber and the David G. Nathan Professor of Pediatrics.

“Cancer affects every community. Dunkin’ Franchisees and the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation are proud to support Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s groundbreaking work to improve outcomes for pediatric cancer patients,” said Victor Carvalho, co-chair of the Board of Directors for the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation.

Advances in genomics—a field dedicated to identifying genetic factors responsible for the development of cancer—have tremendously benefited adult patients with historically intractable cancers, and with this generous gift, researchers at Dana-Farber are working to develop new targeted therapies for children.

One of these initiatives is the Cancer Vulnerabilities Project led by Kimberly Stegmaier, MD, co-director of the Childhood Hematologic Malignancy Center and the Ted Williams Chair at Dana-Farber. Pediatric cancers have few driver mutations, so developing targeted drugs for these diseases can be difficult. To address this problem, Stegmaier and her team are utilizing CRISPR technology to fully catalog genetic dependencies—genes required for cancer’s survival and proliferation— across childhood cancers to reveal precision medicine strategies. This comprehensive catalog, called the Pediatric Cancer Dependency Map, has already uncovered several promising drug targets.

The insights gleaned from studies like the Cancer Vulnerabilities Project are helping to develop specific therapies based on the unique genetics of an individual’s tumor. With this knowledge, physicians will be able to match existing drugs with specific diseases in an effort to prevent drug resistance which will have a direct impact on children both at Dana-Farber and across the globe.

“Dana-Farber’s precision medicine initiatives are empowering researchers to pursue a wide range of potential therapeutic strategies for children on a national scale,” said Armstrong. “We are grateful to the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation’s continued partnership as we work to bring better, more targeted treatments to pediatric cancer patients, and expand our understanding of the biology of pediatric cancer.”

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