The Fanconi Anemia Research Fund has announced a pledge of $10 million over ten years from philanthropists Phil and Penny Knight in support of its David B. Frohnmayer Scientific Research Fund.
The pledge to the fund, which was established in honor of FARF co-founder David Frohnmayer, who died in March 2015, is the lead gift in a $20 million campaign aimed at accelerating the pace of clinical trials, drug testing, gene therapies, and more effective treatments for children and adults with Fanconi anemia. "A major focus of these game-changing initiatives will be preventing and curing the cancers that are now the primary cause of death in adults with FA," said FARF executive director Pamela Norr.
"Fanconi anemia, once thought to be primarily a fatal bone marrow disorder of childhood, has now been unmasked as a DNA repair disorder that causes cancer in young adults," said Grover C. Bagby, chair emeritus of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. "Thanks in part to research supported by FARF, 80 percent to 94 percent of children with FA now survive bone marrow transplants. As adults, though, they are at extraordinarily high risk for developing cancer, at an average age of 33. Since they can't tolerate chemotherapy, treatments that are effective for others are out of the question for them."