Children's Medical Research Institute Searches for Staff for Childhood Cancer Research

Article excerpt

The success of a cancer researcher recruited by the Children's Medical Research Institute has created the need for additional laboratory investigators.

Children's Medical Research Institute recruited William H. Meyer, CMRI Ben Johnson Chair in Hematology and Oncology, in 1997 to join the endowed research and education programs in Oklahoma. Meyer is the professor and chief of hematology and oncology for OU Children's Physicians at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

He had worked at St. Jude Children's Hospital for 14 years and came to Oklahoma to advance his research in Rhabdomyosarcoma, a fast- growing, highly malignant tumor accounting for over half of the soft- tissue sarcomas in children.

Meyer created a pediatric cancer center and expanded the state's impact on pediatric cancer research. His success has increased the need for lab investigators.

Part of my challenge for the future is to find laboratory investigators to bring to Oklahoma, he said. In reality, only about 30 to 40 exist in the United States so we are working to identify these people and allow them to look at opportunities here in Oklahoma.

Recruiting the laboratory investigators to Oklahoma requires money and resources.

Children's Medical Research Institute has obviously been tremendously generous to the pediatric cancer program here. Meyer said. I am extremely pleased and very happy about the support from CMRI and part of the reason I came here was because of that.

CMRI is raising $15 million for pediatric cancer research in its National Excellence Campaign started in 2002. The campaign is about 80-percent complete, said Pat Schonwald, president of the CMRI board.

Money from the campaign will be used to fund four more endowed chairs for specialists in pediatric cancer. The National Excellence Program's $30 million goal also includes $15 million for childhood diabetes research.

All funds raised by CMRI stay in Oklahoma so that the impact, benefits and outcomes of this program are substantial to our children, Schonwald said. By creating a critical mass of scientists and a world-class laboratory capable of carrying out advanced studies in childhood cancer, we can significantly increase survival rates and improve long-term quality of life for children with cancer now and in the future. …