“Mommy, cancer is not hard.”
– Faris D.
Our commitment to childhood cancer research is unique and deeply personal. Our Chief Angel Officer’s words give us clarity on the research we support. We fund original and transformative research in areas where there is high need and a high potential for impact.
Our Core Principles & Priorities
Progress in the understanding and treatment of childhood cancer is only possible through a steadfast commitment to research.
To advance breakthroughs in childhood cancers where outcomes have not changed in decades, we support new paradigms in research and treatment.
We carefully vet and fund research – as if our child’s life depends on it.
We provide accessible opportunities for the public to interface with and understand the research that we invest in.
Projects, Partners, and Grantees
The Faris D. Virani Ewing Sarcoma Center
What makes the FDV Center unique?
The world’s only comprehensive research center dedicated to Ewing sarcoma
24-hour access line for anyone affected by Ewing sarcoma
Undergraduate internship program
Lab tours and meet-the-researchers
The Faris D. Virani Ewing Sarcoma Center at Texas Children’s Cancer Center (an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center) was established in 2014 with a little over $1,000 in seed funding from Faris’ personal piggy bank, and is the world’s only comprehensive research center dedicated to Ewing sarcoma. Part of the Solid Tumor Programs at Texas Children’s Cancer Center, the FDV Center is dedicated to advancing the research and treatment of Ewing sarcoma, the second most common bone tumor in children, as well as other sarcomas. A global leader in research and clinical care, the Center also hosts international symposia, an undergraduate internship program, a youth ambassador program, and is home to world’s only round-the-clock access line for anyone affected by Ewing sarcoma.
The Faris Foundation Immunotherapy Scholar Award (2019-2021)
A grant of $300,000 over two years, awarded to Dr. Sujith K. Joseph (Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Childrens Cancer Center), for his project “Developing Sarcoma-specific T-cell Platform for Grafting Chimeric Antigen Receptors.”
Sarcoma is an aggressive childhood cancer affecting bones and soft tissues. Clinical success remains limited for children whose cancer has spread. Immunotherapy uses patient’s own immune cells to fight cancer. We introduce an artificial molecule called chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) on immune cells. The CAR introduced T cells can identify and kill cancer cells in a targeted manner.
CAR T cells have shown benefit to patients in early clinical testing. A clinical trial at our center tests for the safety of this CAR T cells targeting HER2 protein. In this trial, a child with rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft tissue cancer, achieved complete cure. We observed activation of the patient’s own immune system following CAR T cell treatment. Furthermore, we identified various tumor proteins targeted by the patient’s own immune system. These proteins participated in uncontrolled cell growth, cancer spread and cell invasion. Some of these proteins had expression limited to or elevated on cancer cells. We are validating these proteins as sarcoma targets with immune potential. Once validated, we will develop sarcoma-specific T cells for cancer therapy.