The Beneficiary: The Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases of Las Vegas
The Children's Center is a pediatric cancer clinic founded by Dr. Jonathan Bernstein. They provide specialized care for children undergoing cancer treatment in an environment designed to be kid sized and kid friendly. The Children's Center is Nevada's only childhood cancer center where children can receive medical care regardless of their parent's ability to pay for services. Their resources are tightly stretched and they already have a waiting list of nearly 60 children in need of treatment.
Nevada lacks the population for highly specialized physicians to build their practices here. Currently, this means that families need to travel to receive the life saving treatments they need. (For example: currently there are no bone marrow transplants available in the state of Nevada.) The Children's Center is pioneering a new program to meet the needs of these families by building a regional center for children's special health care needs. They have built partnerships with specialists in Los Angeles who will work in a special area of the CC's new facility for 3 days every two weeks. This means that Dr. Bernstein's patients will get the specialized care they need and be able to recover in their own homes.
Due to the lack of specialists in Nevada, access to clinical trials is very limited. These trials represent the cutting edge of medical technology and therapy. Statistically, children on clinical trials have a 10-20% greater chance of long term survival than those not participating. Dr. Bernstein is working to correct this with his regional center and specialist partnerships. With financial support the Children's center will be able to make these treatments more available to local patients.
The majority of research dollars raised in the US are spent investigating adult forms of cancer. This leaves programs designated to studying childhood cancer under-funded and in dire need of attention.
However, there is hope… In the 1940's- 1950's, few children survived cancer. In 2009, more than 80% of children diagnosed with cancer can be expected to be long term survivors.