Teenagers and young adults ages 15–30 who are diagnosed with cancer often face unique challenges. Each September, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month challenges advocates to work to help overcome them.
Char and Chuck Fowler witnessed these challenges firsthand when their 14-year-old daughter, Angie, was diagnosed with melanoma, ultimately passing away from the cancer in 1983. In response, in 2014, the Fowlers set out to make sure young patients receive the specialized treatment they need by founding the Angie Fowler Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Research Initiative.
Based in Case Western Reserve’s exceptionally rated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, the initiative aims to advance research in the AYA sphere by offering awards to researchers seeking to improve our understanding of the basic biology of tumor progression and therapy resistance in adolescents and young adults.
The program complements the Angie Fowler Adolescent & Young Adult Cancer Institute at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, an institute that emphasizes new approaches to the treatment and care of patients in this segment.
While there are a wide range of cancers that affect adolescents and young adults, the Initiative has emerged as a leader in research on sarcomas, which are rare but often do not respond well to treatment.
To further the work in this sector, the initiative has sought to include more patients in this age group in clinical trials.
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center was the first in the country to establish such an important AYA cancer research program at a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.