The life-saving work of the Children’s Oncology Unit Marianna V. Vardinoyannis-ELPIDA within the Agia Sofia Children’s Hospital in Athens will benefit from a $50,000 grant from The Hellenic Initiative (THI). The grant, which was given to ORAMA ELPIDAS, will be used by that non-profit organization to support the establishment of a new Medical Data & Clinical Trial Office within the hospital.
The new facility will contribute to the overall data processing of participants in clinical trials and to digitizing relevant medical records while also acting as a hub and connecting point with the several partners of the project within and outside of Greece.
The primary objective of Orama Elpidas is the operation of the Bone Marrow Donor Volunteer Bank covering the needs of children and adult patients for hematopoietic cell transplantation not only in Greece, but also internationally.
In Greece as recently as a few years ago there were only 15,000 registered bone marrow donors, while worldwide there were 13 million. Through Orama Elpidas’ numerous campaigns and partnerships, the number of registrants has risen to over 88,000, with 51 of them already matched with patients.
Recently Orama partnered with the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens – BRFAA, the country’s largest Biomed research organization, which is comprised of over 430 researchers. This partnership aims to establish treatments tailored for each unique patient based on the specific genetic alterations found at their tumors. The project will allow children from the ELPIDA hospital to be eligible for state of the art, precision-based medicine trials on a global level, thereby increasing their chances to successfully fight their tumors and fully recover.
The DNA sequencing, genome testing, and molecular profiling techniques that will be used to identify the specific tumor of each patient will be co-developed in a partnership between BRFAA and the world-renowned Dana Farber Cancer Institute of Harvard University (DFCI) based at Boston’s Children’s Hospital. The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute provides cancer patients with the best treatment available today while developing tomorrow’s cures through cutting-edge research.
George P. Stamas, THI’s Board President stated: “Today we announce a new donation but more importantly we honor the work of Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, a fellow THI Board member, who for 30 years now has been standing by the side of children fighting cancer. We are pleased that our grant will help develop a partnership among some great research and patient-centered organizations making the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Oncology Hospital a real centre of excellence not just for Greece, but worldwide.”
Michael Printzos, THI’s Program Director stated: “It’s an honor for The Hellenic Initiative to contribute to the exemplary work of Orama Elpidas. The relatively low number of Greek bone marrow donors is a major issue for Greek society, which has to be urgently addressed with systematic and continuous efforts. By helping Orama Elpidas we want to show our support and solidarity to people battling against cancer.”
Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, founder and president of the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation, of the ELPIDA (HOPE) Friends’ Association of Children with cancer, and of the Orama ELPIDAS Association, stated: “After 30 years of effort through the ELPIDA Association of Friends of Children with Cancer, and five years after the foundation of the Bone Marrow Donor Center ORAMA ELPIDAS, created in order to raise awareness regarding bone marrow donation, I am very proud to see that Greek society is standing by our side. 51 patients that were given the gift of life are a strong message that when Greeks are united there will be no Greek patient deprived of hope. I am very happy that the Greek Diaspora is standing by our side and I would really like to thank The Hellenic Initiative for the support. You are giving us strength to carry on!”