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For Immediate Release: Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation & Izzy’s Infantry Team Up to Fund Childhood Cancer Research

Bridgewater, NJ (September 10, 2017) – Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) has partnered with Izzy’s Infantry Fighting Pediatric Cancer & Spinal Trauma to fund ALSF-funded researcher Michelle Monje, MD/PhD of Stanford University. ALSF and Izzy’s Infantry share a vision of funding childhood cancer research to ultimately find cures for all children with cancer.

Izzy’s Infantry was founded to honor Isabel “Izzy Warrior Princess” Rita and fund childhood cancer research, children’s spinal cord injury rehabilitation programs as well as research and programs to improve the quality of life for children in treatment and their families. Izzy was 1 when she was diagnosed with a low-grade glioma and underwent a 10-hour spinal cord biopsy before beginning a 14- month-long chemotherapy treatment. Izzy continues to fight to walk and run like other children her age. But it has not stopped her from rallying supporters and helping other children battling cancer or traumatic spinal cord injuries.

“The partnership between Izzy’s Infantry and ALSF began before Izzy’s Infantry was even incorporated. In a lot of ways ALSF empowered us to feel like we could make a difference,” said Sonia Rita, Izzy’s mom and President of Izzy’s Infantry. “During Izzy’s chemo treatment, we knew we wanted to do something to help children like her. When we heard [ALSF Co-Executive Directors] Jay and Liz Scott speak, we truly
saw how they turned the proverbial lemons into lemonade. Together with Izzy’s strength and spirit, Jay, Liz and the entire ALSF community inspired us to take the next step to form an organization in honor of Izzy to help fight childhood cancer. There is nothing better than bringing this inspiration full circle by partnering with ALSF. We truly believe that we are stronger together.”

Izzy’s Infantry will help fund Dr. Monje’s central nervous system tumor research through an ALSF Innovation grant. Dr. Monje is currently studying donated spinal cord high-grade glioma tumors to molecularly characterize, develop a model and use it to validate the possible therapeutic use of Panobinostat. Panobinostat is a type of drug therapy that modifies a mutation and makes it less likely to cause cancerous cells to form and grow. Dr. Monje is leading a clinical trial of the drug for patients battling diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). She will use the findings from her studies of DIPG to
work toward breakthroughs in the treatment of spinal cord high-grade gliomas. If her findings do show promise, then the DIPG clinical trials could be expanded to include spinal cord patients, offering hope for patients who previously had few options. A detailed description of her project is below.

“The amount of progress that has been made in the study of gliomas of childhood in the past 5 years, is more than has been made in the last 50. It is a really exciting moment of progress and hope,” said Dr. Monje.

For more information, contact Sonia Rita at Sonia.Rita@izzysinfantry.org.