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Hyundai Hope on Wheels and Raleigh-Durham Area Hyundai Dealers today awarded Ian Davis, MD, PhD, a $100,000 grant to support research into the causes of and treatments for pediatric sarcoma. Davis, assistant professor of pediatrics and genetics and a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of 71 recipients of Hyundai Hope on Wheels’ 2011 Hope Grant program, where $7.1 million will be awarded to support research and programs in honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

“We, at Hyundai, are thrilled to honor National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month by donating Hope Grants to institutions that are creating new possibilities to support and help cure childhood cancer,” said John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America. “Hyundai and our dealers will continue to support these doctors and institutions and bring attention to the disease that affects so many young people. Davis uses state of the art genome wide techniques to find the causes of childhood sarcomas and on therapies to turn off the genes that are responsible for the growth of sarcoma tumors. Dr. Davis also specializes in the treatment of children with these types of tumors.

“Dr. Davis’ research is showing very promising results that could lead to improved diagnostics and better therapies for pediatric sarcoma, a group of diseases that make up about 10 to 15 percent of all cancers diagnosed each year in children and young adults under 20,” said Stuart Gold, MD, chief of the division of pediatric oncology.

“We are working very hard in the laboratory to understand how differences in the structure of DNA causes cancer and to figure out how to counteract the oncogenes – cancer causing genes – that are responsible for the growth of certain types of sarcoma,” said Davis. “As with many rare diseases, government-sponsored research funding is limited. Private philanthropy, such as this grant from Hope on Wheels, is essential to our progress.”

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