The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-driven charity dedicated to raising money for children’s cancer research, has awarded a one-year, $50,000 grant to Keck Medicine of USC.

Keck Medicine of USC includes one of the most comprehensive adolescent and young adult (AYA) programs in Los Angeles — the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. AYA@USCNorris is focused on improving outcomes of adolescent and young adult patients through patient care, clinical trials, research and education.

The program is open to patients from ages 15-39, a wider age range than many programs, based on the gap identified by a Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) study in 2000. This grant will fund an experienced and certified research and data coordinator to enroll patients into clinical trials, manage and enter data, and to build a comprehensive database that will serve as the backbone for future studies.

“We are deeply appreciative to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation for this infrastructure grant that will allow us to initiate AYA-specific cancer clinical trials at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center,” said Stuart Siegel, M.D., associate director for pediatric oncology at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and co-medical director of the AYA@USCNorris program.

“Clinical trials are the key final step to translate our research discoveries into direct patient benefit,” Siegel said. “With one of the largest single-institution AYA populations in the country, seeing nearly 2,000 patients per year, we are poised to make important contributions to improving the treatment of adolescents and young adults with cancer as a result of this support.”

This grant is one of 40 infrastructure grants awarded as part of the foundation’s recent grant cycle, totaling more than $2.5 million. This series of grants, combined with the more than $24.7 million awarded in July to fund cutting-edge research, brings the St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s funding total to more than $27.2 million awarded in 2014 to support research being done at institutions across the country.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives. St. Baldrick’s coordinates its signature head-shaving events worldwide where participants collect pledges to shave their heads in solidarity with kids with cancer, raising money to fund research.

USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center has been leading the fight to make cancer a disease of the past. As one of the eight original comprehensive cancer centers in the United States, its mission is to treat and prevent cancer by advancing and integrating education, research and personalized patient care.