Our mission is to find the cure for Childhood Cancer.

The Brian Morden Foundation was created to honor Brian, a courageous 19 year old, who battled Ewing’s Sarcoma for more than two years. He lost the battle on February 15, 2003, but his family, friends, and many others who only knew Brian by reputation have vowed to continue the fight against this horrible disease.

The foundation has three goals:

  • Fund Ewing’s Sarcoma and childhood cancer research.
  • Support patients, family, and staff of pediatric oncology units
  • Provide funding for “Brian Morden Memorial” higher education scholarships


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Thank you for supporting BMF!

We are always grateful for our donors, supporters, and volunteers, but during this month of Thanksgiving, we’d especially like to thank all of you for everything you to do to help in our fight against childhood cancer. <3

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What is Giving Tuesday?

GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of radical generosity. GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Since then, it has grown into a year-round global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.

Join the movement and give – each Tuesday and every day – whether it’s some of your time, a donation, or the power of your voice in your local community.

It’s a simple idea:  whether it’s making someone smile, helping a neighbor or stranger out, showing up for an issue or people we care about, or giving some of what we have to those who need our help, every act of generosity counts and everyone has something to give.

CHILD CANCER STATISTICS & INFORMATION

Some disturbing facts about childhood cancer (from CureSearch.org, ALSF, and/or Candlelighters.org):

  • Every day, approximately 250 kids around the world die from cancer.
  • In the US, cancer is the #1 disease killer of children, cutting short the lives of more children under the age of 20 than any other disease.
  • Every school day, 46 young people, or two classrooms of students, are diagnosed with cancer in this country. More than 12,500 children are diagnosed with cancer each year and over 40,000 children and adolescents are currently being treated.
  • The incidence of childhood cancer has increased every year over the past 25 years.
  • The federal government’s budget for childhood cancer research is only about 4% of all cancer research funding.
  • The potential years of life lost to childhood cancer and the potential years of life saved by treatment exceed all other cancers with the exception of breast cancer.
  • Childhood cancer is not related to lifestyle choices as it is for many adult cancers. There are no screening tests for most childhood cancers.
  • There are at least 16 different types of childhood cancer including ALL, ALM, Ewing’s Sarcoma, Brain Tumors, & Lymphomas.
  • Most children cannot be treated at a local hospital; families must face the disruption of traveling for treatment.
  • Some signs of childhood cancer are:

    Continued, unexplained weight loss
    Headaches, often with vomiting, at night or early morning
    Increased swelling or persistent pain in bones, joints, back, or legs
    Lump or mass, especially in abdomen, neck, chest, pelvis, or armpits
    Development of excessive bruising, bleeding, or rash

    Constant infections
    A whitish color behind the pupil
    Nausea which persists or vomiting without nausea
    Constant tiredness or noticeable paleness
    Eye or vision changes which occur suddenly and persist
    Recurrent fevers of unknown origin

    Approximately one in 330 children will be diagnosed with cancer by age 19. Although it is unlikely that your child will develop cancer, as a parent, you need to be aware of the symptoms of childhood cancer. Observe your child for any sudden, persistent changes in health or behavior as listed above. Since most of the symptoms of cancer can also be attributed to benign conditions, the diagnosis of cancer can be a long process. You must trust your own instinct and work as a team with your doctor, using your knowledge of your child and your doctor’s knowledge of medicine to protect your child’s health.

    Congratulations to our 2021 National Scholarship Winners!

    Giancarlo Cusimano

    Alexandra Hagan

    Michael Scott

    Mary Thies

    Bryce Williams

    EWS Gene Fusion Analysis to Facilitate Immune Targeting of Ewing Sarcoma

    Physician-scientist Kelly Bailey, MD, PhD, pursues cutting-edge studies to uncover better treatments for kids battling a rare, aggressive cancer

    Objective: To build an environment which allows acquisition and analysis of Ewing Sarcoma (EWS) cancer fusion gene sequence data, especially in frame analysis mRNA> polypeptide data for prediction of immunogenic potential of EWS-FLI1 and EWS-ERG cancer-specific sequences which span the fusion gene breakpoints. This data will begin to answer questions about common versus unique EWS-FLI1 patterns at the protein level and binding fit (or not) in relation to a EWS patient’s HLA type.  Positive results then can be used for testing of ongoing immune responses using cancer-specific polypeptides in skin tests of delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH) in EWS. If +DTH is seen, this information could be visually useful for patient and pediatric  oncologists to predict anti-EWS efficacy for immuno-oncology release agents (e.g., checkpoint inhibitors and anti-CD47) and future personalized mRNA vaccines.  

    Rationale:  Better absolute lymphocyte recovery during chemotherapy Ewing sarcoma (EWS) chemotherapy is associated with significantly better survival. Lymphopenia is associated with worse survival in sarcomas.  This proposal seeks to improve EWS survival using a data base to allow new tools to investigate amplifying effective immune responses against EWS.

    Specific Aims:

    • Create a database for EWS gene-fusion data

    We have exciting and new preliminary EWS-FLI1 and EWS-ERG genetic data on >30 patients. A database is needed to do chart review and share results (publication). The database will have information concerning clinical characteristics, EWS-FLI1 and EWS-ERG gene fusion data, and corresponding amino acid sequences of each fusion gene mutation that spans the breakpoint. If available, HLA-typing data (e.g. from Tempus or Caris) will also be entered into the database.

    • Analyze patterns of EWS-FLI and EWS-ERG gene fusions and cancer-specific corresponding polypeptide sequences that span the breakpoints.

    This information will be used to generate tables and figures for an article that shows 3 patterns of EWS-FLI gene fusion (exon 7>7, Exon 7>6 and “other”) and EWS-ERG patterns, if any. This publication will acknowledge the Brian Morden Foundation funding and will amplify efforts to get additional data for future EWS immuno-oncology research and additional funding.

    Addressing the Unique Challenges of Ewing Sarcoma

    Years ago, when Dr. Kelly Bailey was a pediatric oncology fellow, she met a 15-year-old diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, a tumor of the bone or soft tissue. The cancer had spread throughout the teen’s body. The prognosis was almost certainly terminal. Yet, somehow, after only three months of chemotherapy, the young woman showed no evidence of disease. The physicians were stunned. How had such an aggressive cancer responded so quickly to treatment? In this experience, Dr. Bailey recognized how little we really know about this disease. Since then, she has dedicated her career to understanding the Ewing sarcoma biology to attempt to develop better, more targeted therapies for patients with Ewing sarcoma.  While this young woman relapsed several years later and ultimately lost her battle with Ewing sarcoma, her story remains the impetus for Dr. Bailey’s steadfast dedication to defeating this lethal disease.

    Problem:

    Ewing sarcoma is an aggressive primary bone cancer that mainly affects adolescents and young adults. Sadly, relapsed or refractory disease that fails to respond to standard treatment is especially lethal, with an unacceptable survival rate of only 10-30%.

    Federal funding for childhood cancer research—including Ewing sarcoma research—remains woefully inadequate. Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease for kids under 19 here in the U.S.; yet childhood cancer research accounts for only about 3.94% of the National Cancer Institute’s annual budget. With limited funding available, physician-scientists often lack the resources they need to pilot new therapies, gather substantial data, and develop new protocols for care.

    Solution:

    With philanthropic support, the physician-scientists in Dr. Bailey’s lab can using cutting-edge technology, including mice harboring human immune cells, to characterize and understand ways in which a patient’s immune cells may respond to or “attack” Ewing tumors cells differently around times of DNA damage (chemotherapy, radiation therapy). The ultimate goal of this work is to identify and test more effective combination therapies for those battling this unforgiving disease.

    Dr. Bailey has earned national recognition as a thought leader in oncology research. She is one of only 10 investigators nationally leading the New Agents for Ewing Sarcoma Task Force of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) and continues to garner attention in the field for her innovative work advancing our understanding of the sarcoma tumor microenvironment.

    How You’re Making a Difference:

    Dr. Bailey cannot do this work alone. The research is complex and expensive, with ever-evolving circumstances with which to contend. Amid an increasingly competitive federal funding environment, the sort of high-risk, high-reward studies necessary to make meaningful strides in childhood cancer research are often overlooked in favor of more traditional, established projects. If we’re going to improve treatment and outcomes for patients, progress will be driven by philanthropists, dedicated families, and clinicians from across the country working in concert to rapidly fast track what works to treat tumors and pilot safer alternatives to current therapies.

    As we work to advance research and treatment, the Brian Morden Foundation is helping to support large-scale studies of the Ewing tumor immune landscape before, during, and after the tumor “seeing” DNA damage (chemotherapy/radiation). This knowledge will help better understand what immunotherapeutic interventions may be beneficial for patients with relapsed Ewing sarcoma.

    We remain grateful for the generous partnership of donors who help to accelerate and expand research, bringing cures to kids faster.

    Congratulations to our 2021 Brian Morden Foundation Scholarship and Award Winners!

    Brian Morden Memorial Scholarships

    Seth Brunnhuber
    Sophie Auker in memory of Emma Auker
    Colten Allison in memory of Heather Miller

    National Winners

    Giancarlo Cusimano
    Alexandra Hagan
    Michael Scott
    Mary Thies
    Bryce Williams

     

     

    Erin Dodson Memorial Scholarship

    Isabella Frank

     

    Brian Morden Foundation
    Survivor Award

    Cameron Pittman

    Support BMF Today!

    To send your gift by mail, please send your check to:

    Brian Morden Foundation
    2809 Columbia Drive
    Altoona, PA 16602

    Thank you for your support!

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