WAUWATOSA, Wis. - A Children's Wisconsin doctor is getting national recognition for his cancer research. He received a fellowship award to help further his work. It comes at a critical time when funding for childhood cancer research is low.
Like most everything, childhood cancer research also seeing the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. A lot of research money went toward COVID-19 instead. An award given by the St. Baldrick's Foundation will allow Dr. Matthew Kudek to continue his important work at Children's Wisconsin.
"What we're doing is using a combination of different types of immunotherapy," said Dr. Kudek.
For the past two years, Dr. Kudek has dedicated his work to finding a cure for neuroblastoma, one of the most common pediatric tumors.
"Our research is looking for additional ways to enhance the immune system’s ability to combat," said Dr. Kudek.
His work uses immunotherapy to kill cancer cells by introducing a weakened infection to the patient. It's being recognized nationally.
"Dr. Kudek’s work is very exciting because we see in it great innovation and potential to advance neuroblastoma and how to treat kids with neuroblastoma," said Kathleen Ruddy, CEO of the St. Baldrick's Foundation.
The St. Baldrick's Foundation, a childhood cancer research charity, awarded Dr. Kudek with a nearly $200,000 fellowship to advance his work.
"We are nearing an inflection or a tipping point, if you will, where we believe that a lot more progress is possible," said Ruddy.
The award comes at a critical moment. Childhood cancer research, which is already underfunded, has taken another hit amid COVID-19.
"Research funds from other funders are going predominately to COVID research, which we all know is important, but nobody has stopped being diagnosed with other diseases during the pandemic," said Ruddy.
This award is helping more than just a doctor, but children in the fight of their lives.
"We need to go further and we need to keep pushing so that every child can survive," said Ruddy.
St. Baldrick's says its revenue was down 35%. Both Dr. Kudek and Ruddy encourage others to learn how they can help to make sure childhood cancer research is not forgotten.