Hyundai Hope On Wheels grant aids childhood cancer research

In honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Hyundai Hope On Wheels has awarded pediatric oncologist Dr. Ian Davis a $250,000 Hyundai Scholar of Hope grant to fund his Ewing sarcoma research.

Hyundai Hope On Wheels grant aids childhood cancer research click to enlarge Dr. Ian Davis with Philip Rawls and Ashley Burnette, both survivors of childhood cancer, at the Hyundai Hope On Wheels handprint ceremony on Sept. 1.

Sept. 1, 2015

Hyundai Hope On Wheels® and Triangle-area Hyundai dealers have awarded the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center a $250,000, Hyundai Scholar of Hope grant to fund childhood cancer research led by pediatric oncologist Ian Davis, MD, PhD, an associate professor of pediatrics and genetics in the UNC School of Medicine and member of UNC Lineberger. Dr. Davis will use the funds to better understand and develop therapies for Ewing sarcoma, a rare cancer of the bone and soft tissue that primarily affects children and young adults, ages 10 to 20.

The newly named Hyundai Scholar is one of 45 recipients across the country to receive a 2015 Hyundai Scholar Grant. In all, Hope On Wheels will award $10.5 million in research grants this September in honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. With this award, the Davis Lab at UNC has received $350,000 from Hope On Wheels since 2011.

Davis and other collaborators recently discovered molecules that could serve as possible new therapies. He and his research team will use this award to investigate how this newly identified class of molecules impacts the interaction between DNA and its associated proteins to turn genes on and off—and with this new knowledge, they hope to develop novel strategies for treating of Ewing sarcoma and other similar diseases.

Dr. Ian Davis. Click to enlarge.
“It is a tremendous honor to receive a second grant from Hyundai Hope On Wheels,” said Davis, whose lab uses leading-edge genome-wide technologies and bioinformatic strategies to study the impact of genetic abnormalities of tumors. “Our first award allowed us to apply tests of DNA/protein interactions for diagnostic purposes, and this second study builds on a concept but for therapeutic discovery. We hope that both of these project could come together linking diagnostics and biomarkers with treatment.”

The $250,000 grant to Davis was presented during a Hope On Wheels handprint ceremony in the N.C. Children’s Hospital lobby on Sept. 1. During the ceremony, Hope On Wheels commemorated North Carolina children affected by cancer by capturing their handprints on canvasses and a 2016 white Hyundai Tucson. Featured patients included Philip Rawls of Fuquay-Varina and Ashley Burnette of Raleigh. Of special note, Burnette, a former N.C. Children's Hospital patient ambassador, attended the event as the current national youth ambassador for Hyundai Hope On Wheels. Watch video from the event >>

“There’s no higher calling than to make sure our children have the best future possible and it’s both an honor and privilege to support such an important cause,” said Dave Zuchowski, President and CEO of Hyundai Motor America. “While we are making positive strides in many areas of pediatric cancer, there’s still work to do. And it also doesn’t change the fact that every 36 minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer. Reaching the milestone of $100 million in giving is something we are proud of at Hyundai but the fight continues and we are determined in our mission to one day find a cure. To all the kids, families and cancer researchers on the front lines of childhood cancerknow that you are not alone and we remain committed over the long-term to this important cause.”