“Mommy, cancer is not hard.” 
– Faris D.

If a 6-year-old can say these profound words, then the search for better treatment requires a paradigm shift as well.

The Faris Foundation’s approach to research is unique in that we have made a transformative investment in establishing the Faris D. Virani Ewing Sarcoma Center, the world’s only comprehensive research center dedicated to Ewing sarcoma, at Texas Children’s Hospital.

We firmly believe that the treatment and breakthrough discoveries that take place at the Faris D. Virani Ewing Sarcoma Center will represent the future of Ewing sarcoma treatment and the best hope for children with this aggressive and elusive malady.

We also support transformative investments in the country’s best and brightest pediatric cancer researchers and physicians who not only develop the most innovative therapies but create new knowledge that will result in future cures. We identify, through a rigorous process, a scholar of excellence whose research is made accessible to the public with close quarterly updates on progress – we believe that to truly invest in impactful research, requires a deep commitment and sustained support. Our first scholar of excellence will be in the field of immunotherapy and sarcomas.

About the Faris D. Virani Ewing Sarcoma Center

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. A global leader in research and clinical care, the Center also hosts a biannual international symposium, undergraduate internship program, youth ambassador program, and is home to world’s only round-the-clock access line for anyone affected by Ewing sarcoma. The Center consists of 14 lab team members, and 8 physicians dedicated to seeing Ewing sarcoma patients.

Faris D. at the FDV Ewing Sarcoma Center at Texas Children's Cancer Center
Faris D. at the FDV Ewing Sarcoma Center at Texas Children’s Cancer Center

News

April 9, 2019 – Dr. Sujith Joseph, Senior Staff Scientist, and Dr. Meenakshi Hegde, Assistant Professor, both members of the Department of Pediatrics, Section of Hematology-Oncology, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Cancer Center have been awarded the Faris D. Virani Immunotherapy Scholar Award of $300,000 over two years, by The Faris Foundation. 

Press Release

“The Faris D. Virani Ewing Sarcoma Center is an internationally recognized center for providing outstanding clinical care and performing collaborative cutting-edge research.”

The Faris D. Virani Ewing Sarcoma Center
A Message from Dr. Jason Yustein, Director

Nearly 5 years ago we established the Faris D. Virani Ewing Sarcoma Center at the Texas Children’s Cancer Center. Our mission is to be a one of a kind comprehensive Center that personally engages and provides the highest quality clinical care, with the most effective therapeutic options to every newly diagnosed or relapsed Ewing sarcoma patient. Besides the individualized, personal care we provide for each of our Ewing sarcoma patients, we are dedicated towards performing state-of-the art research that is accelerating our insights into the biology of Ewing sarcoma and has led us towards the identification and testing of novel therapies for the treatment of this extremely aggressive disease. Presently, the Faris D. Virani Ewing Sarcoma Center is made up of numerous physicians, physician-scientists, and all the essential supporting members critical to accomplishing the mission of the Center.

Two of our main research focus areas have been on understanding (1) mechanisms of resistance to therapies and (2) how the sarcoma cells travel to, or metastasize to other locations. Clinically, both of these conditions have extremely poor patient outcomes. We truly believe increasing our scientific knowledge into these key clinical entities is essential towards improving patient outcomes. Our research has led to numerous publications in top research journals where we have reported new avenues for therapeutic interventions, including targeting critical pathways needed for the growth and progression of Ewing sarcoma. This has led to the Center reaching out to and collaborating with pharmaceutical companies in order to actively obtain agents in clinical trials. Using our experience in modelling Ewing sarcoma metastasis we have been testing these agents, not previously investigated for Ewing sarcoma, for the treatment of this aggressive disease.

Besides the Virani Center’s active projects studying metastasis and mechanisms of resistance to chemotherapy and radiation therapy, we are actively engaged with numerous colleagues across the Texas Medical Center and within the state of Texas. These include working with other investigators looking at testing additional novel agents as well as re-purposing, or use of previously identified therapies in novel combinations that can have significant benefit to patients, as well as scientists modelling and investigating the pathways in the cell needed for sarcoma initiation.

While the Virani Center is working closely with scientists in Houston, around the state and country, we have also taken the initiative to bring together the leading experts in the research and care of Ewing sarcoma patients. Since the establishment of the Virani Center, we have hosted two outstanding International Ewing Sarcoma symposiums, in 2015 and 2017, where physicians and scientists from across the U.S., Canada and Europe have come together to discuss and share their insights regarding the state of Ewing sarcoma care and research. The symposiums have allowed the direct interactions between these experts to identify deficient areas and begin collaborative efforts towards addressing these areas.

The Faris D. Virani Ewing Sarcoma Center has become an internationally recognized center for providing outstanding clinical care and performing collaborative cutting-edge research. Our mission will not be complete until we can offer the necessary care and treatment options that will successfully eradicate this disease for all patients diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma.