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Funded Research by Brandon’s Defense:


JUNE 2013:  New Grant Funds Epigenetic Research on Osteosarcoma Metastasis: The Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative has announced the funding of a $50,000 grant for promising osteosarcoma research by investigators at Case Western Reserve University (CSRW) and the National Institutes of Health. In the study, Peter Scacheri, PhD; Chand Khanna, DVM, PhD and James Morrow will bring a new set of tools and perspectives to the problem of osteosarcoma metastasis, or tumor spread. The team of researchers hope, for the first time, to determine what genes and proteins are truly responsible for osteosarcoma metastasis. Osteosarcomas tend to spread to the lungs, and that spread is a great threat to the lives of patients. Thus, according to Dr. Khanna, "This study is designed to improve our understanding of how and why osteosarcoma cells are able to spread so effectively from the site of the primary tumor to other parts of the body." The Initiative acknowledges generous donations from Katelyn Andresen and the friends and family of Hallie Brown, Nathan Burgess and Alyssa Divers, all of whom lost their lives to osteosarcoma and in honor of Bailey Moody, whose post treatment scans reveal no evidence of disease. We also thank Brandon’s Defense Foundation (in Memory of Brandon Gordon), Fishin’ For The Cure (in memory of Matthew Siegle) and Sarah’s Garden of Hope (in memory of Sarah Pidgeon) for their continued support in helping fund osteosarcoma research. Together, we are making a difference.


October 2012:  Molecular Mechanisms and Pharmacologic Inhibition of Bone Sarcoma Metastasis:  This is an International Collaborative Grant (ICG) which brings together four researchers from the US, Italy and Austria. This grant will be funded for a total of $250,000 over two years. The ICG Program brings together global teams of sarcoma specialists to work together on significant research projects. The teams collaboratively employ their resources in order to make more progress than each investigator can make individually. ICGs enable team members to use their individual skills to address specific questions while also contributing to a larger, promising project. Here is a brief abstract of their planned research which focuses on bone sarcoma metastasis: “A deeper understanding of the biology that underlies bone sarcoma metastasis, osteosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma, is urgently needed so that novel therapies that target and prevent these processes can be developed. The metastatic cascade is a multi-step process which includes local tumor cell invasion and entry into the vasculature, followed by the exit of tumor cells from the circulation and colonization at distant sites. Regulation of cell adhesion, migration and plasticity of cancer cells as well as interactions with the surrounding environment (such as stromal and endothelial cells) are key components of the metastatic process. Consequently, understanding the mechanisms of cell movement are of critical relevance for targeted intervention.


August 2012: The Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative has awarded a $50,000 grant to fund promising research on osteosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) of the bone by investigators at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. The researchers, Dr. John Martignetti and Dr. Olga Camacho-Vanegas, believe that they have discovered a genetic change that might lead to new targeted treatment for osteosarcoma & MFH patients.  Osteosarcoma and MFH of the bone are rare cancers that usually affect children, adolescents and young adults. The diseases are treated with a combination of aggressive therapies, but a significant number of patients deal with disease relapse and progression. The researchers believe that this study addresses a critical issue for patients and their families for improved treatment. This $50,000 grant was made possible by a generous donation from Laura Somerville and by donations from Brandon’s Defense Foundation (in Memory of Brandon Gordon), Lori Brasic of Soccer ‘Round the Clock (in honor of Logan Brasic), Kim Pidgeon of Sarah’s Garden of Hope (in memory of Sarah Pidgeon) and from the friends and families of Jonah Chrisman and Sara Corbelli, both of whom lost their lives to osteosarcoma.


September 2011: Restricted donation for Osteosarcoma and Neuroblastoma research made to CureSearch for Children’s Cancer funds promising research conducted at more than 175 hospitals across the nation.  A portion of our contribution went to a grant “Researcher Examines the Body’s Immune System in Search of Treatments for Osteosarcoma” This grant was awarded to  Meenakshi Hegde, MD at Baylor College of Medicine is hoping her research on the body’s immune system, specifically T-cells, will lead to new treatment options. The job of the body’s immune system is to fight off disease, in this case, cancer. Thus, when an abnormal, or mutated, cell is created, the body should recognize it as different from the rest and eliminate it. When that doesn’t happen, diseases occur. Dr. Hegde will begin working on this project in early 2013 and is funded for the research by CureSearch for Children’s Cancer for two years. During the course of her grant, Dr. Hegde will provide updates on her research, and CureSearch looks forward to sharing those with you. To learn more about this research or Curesearch visit


February 15, 2010:  The Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative is pleased to announce the funding of a 1-year $50,000 research study, "Targeting the Tumor-Associated Antigen p27kip1 in Metastatic Osteosarcoma," that is being undertaken by principle investigator Tsz-Kwong Man, PhD in the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. The funding for this grant is made possible, in part, by generous donations made by family and friends in memory of Sammie Hartsfield (Team Sammie), in memory of Brandon Gordon (Brandon's Defense Foundation) and in memory of Emma Koertzen who lost their lives to osteosarcoma, and by generous donations made by the family and friends of Todd Andrews (Team Sarcoma Bike Tour), Logan Brasic (Soccer 'Round the Clock), and Shannon Ryan (Team Sarcoma Bike Tour) who are still fighting this disease or are survivors.  You can learn more about this study in the article "Targeting the Tumor-Associated Antigen p27kip1 in Metastatic Osteosarcoma" this appears in the February 2010 issue of ESUN.


June 15, 2009: The Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative is funding a 1-year $50,000 research study, "Molecular Basis of Genomic Instability in Osteosarcoma," that is being undertaken by principle investigator Pulivarthi H Rao, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Baylor College of Medicine and his colleague Debananda Pati, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the Baylor College of Medicine. The funding for this grant is made possible, in part, by generous donations made by the family and friends in memory of Sean Keane (Irish Media Ball), Frank Shafer (Sarcoma Walk), and Brandon Gordon (Golf for Gordie) all of whom lost their lives to osteosarcoma, and by generous donations made by the family and friends of Logan Brasic (Soccer ‘Round the Clock), Matthew Siegle (Fishin’ for the Cure), Emma Koertzen (Stewart’s Stampede), and Lauren Chelenza (Pearl S. Buck Elementary School Walk-a-Thon) who are all still fighting this disease.


We are pleased to have partnered with The Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative.  The Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative works to award sarcoma research grants to expert investigators around the world. The Initiative maintains an extremely low overhead of 2-3% per year. Thus, 97-98% of donations received by the Initiative go directly to support sarcoma research. The Initiative supports research that is targeted at finding cures for sarcomas, as well as research that attempts to develop more effective treatment regimens than those currently available.


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