Funding Support Follows the Release of New Cancer Research
Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association
ELLENTON, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Feld Family, owners of Feld Entertainment, Inc., the parent company
of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® and
the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation®,
announced today a new funding effort with Intermountain Primary
Children’s Hospital (PCH) and University of Utah Department of
Pediatrics oncologist and Huntsman Cancer Institute investigator Dr.
Joshua Schiffman. The fundraising commitment comes on the heels of new
pediatric cancer research findings published in the Journal of American
Medical Association (JAMA) by Dr. Schiffman.
Dr. Schiffman and the team from Primary Children’s Hospital, the
Department of Pediatrics, and Huntsman Cancer Institute, all in Salt
Lake City, Utah, are studying why there is such a low incidence of
cancer in elephants, what makes this cancer resistance possible in
elephants and not in humans, and how this may correlate to new
treatments for pediatric cancers.
More than 16,000 children and teenagers are diagnosed with cancer every
year in the United States; meanwhile elephants experience almost no
cancer over their lifetimes. Dr. Schiffman; Dr. Dennis Schmitt, Ringling
Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Chair of Veterinary Services and
Director of Research; and Dr. Wendy Kiso, Ringling Bros. Center for
Elephant Conservation Research and Conservation Scientist; and other
scientific collaborators on their team; recently confirmed that
elephants rarely develop cancer with a mortality rate of less than 5
percent compared to up to 25 percent in humans. Looking at the elephant
genome, they described that elephants have 40 copies of a tumor
suppressor gene named TP53 compared to only two copies in humans.
Working with Utah’s Hogle Zoo and the Ringling Bros. Center for
Elephant Conservation, Dr. Schiffman and colleagues studied the
response of elephant blood to DNA damaging agents and discovered that
elephant cells undergo cell death more rapidly compared to human cells.
Dr. Schiffman believes this may be why elephants develop less cancer
than humans. The study’s full findings have been published in the new
edition of the Journal
of American Medical Association.
“With this partnership between Ringling Bros. and Primary
Children’s Hospital, we are now exploring how to apply these discoveries
to children and families most at risk to develop cancer,” said Dr.
Schiffman. “We want to use these lessons from nature to prevent, develop
early recognition tools, and treat cancer in humans.”
Applying the translational research around cancer – the findings from
the basic science that enhance human health and well-being by improving
medical and nursing practices and creating meaningful health outcomes –
could pave the way for an entirely new frontier of cancer research and
treatment, from the laboratory bench to the bedside.
“Twenty years ago, we founded the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant
Conservation to preserve the endangered Asian elephant for future
generations. Little did we know then that they may hold the key to
cancer treatment and we’re tremendously excited to be a part of it,”
said Kenneth Feld, Chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment.
The Feld Family is forming the Ringling Bros. Children’s Fund™
as an element of their ongoing philanthropy through the Feld Family
Foundation to support children’s charities. As part of the partnership
with Primary Children’s Hospital, the Department of Pediatrics, and Dr.
Schiffman, the Ringling Bros. Children’s Fund and Ringling
Bros. and Barnum & Bailey will be donating more than $1 million
to support cancer research and to care for children.
In the next 50 cities Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey visits,
Ringling Bros. will donate $10,000 to a local children’s hospital
or treatment center and the Ringling Bros. Children’s Fund will
match each donation with an additional $10,000 donation to the Primary
Children’s Hospital Foundation to support the PCH Pediatric Cancer
Research Program. This program, which helped support the elephant
research, focuses on novel approaches to prevention, diagnosis, and
improving the value of pediatric cancer care.
“At Ringling Bros., we’re all about entertaining families and
giving back to the communities where we perform every week. In addition
to the financial contributions made by Feld Entertainment and the Ringling
Bros. Children’s Fund, we will be bringing our performers directly
to the hospitals to entertain families who aren’t able to make it to the
show,” said Alana Feld, Executive Vice President of Feld Entertainment
and Producer of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey.
“This ongoing partnership to raise funds for research with Ringling
Bros. enables us to assist in new cancer treatment protocols, that
provide a more innovative and integrated approach to cancer treatment
and provide better long-term outcomes and support families through
long-term care,” says Richard Lemons, MD, PhD, medical director and
chief of pediatric hematology/oncology at Primary Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Lemons oversees the PCH Pediatric Cancer Research Program.
“Cancer affects so many families across this county, and unfortunately
it’s becoming more common, especially among children. We’re hopeful that
our research will lead to new prospects for improved treatments for
pediatric cancer,” says Katy Welkie, CEO of Primary Children’s Hospital.
Additional information on Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey and
the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation, the
partnership and information on how families can donate to the research
can be found online at www.ringling.com
About Feld Entertainment
Feld Entertainment is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting
live touring family entertainment experiences that lift the human spirit
and create indelible memories, with 30 million people in attendance at
its shows each year. Feld Entertainment’s productions have appeared in
more than 75 countries and on six continents to date and include Ringling
Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, Monster Jam®,
Monster Energy Supercross, AMSOIL Arenacross, Disney On
Ice Presented by Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt, Disney Live!
Presented by Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt and Marvel Universe LIVE!
More information about Feld Entertainment is available online at www.feldentertainment.com.
More information on the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant
Conservation is available at www.ringlingelephantcenter.com.
About Primary Children’s Hospital
Primary Children’s Hospital is the only full-service children’s hospital
for Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, and Montana providing care for
children with the most complex injury and illness, including those who
require heart, liver, kidney and bone marrow transplants. Primary
Children’s is the only Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center in the
Intermountain West. It is owned by Intermountain Healthcare, a
not-for-profit healthcare system, and is affiliated with the University
of Utah School of Medicine, which brings together research, training and
excellent care to provide the best health care for children. Donations
are administered by Primary Children’s Hospital Foundation, a separately
incorporated public charity under IRS Code 501(c)(3). The foundation
supports the hospital’s goals of providing the highest level of
pediatric care in an atmosphere of love and concern.
About the University of Utah Department of Pediatrics
The Department of Pediatrics is the second largest department in the
University of Utah School of Medicine and one of the largest pediatric
departments in the country. There are 270 faculty members in the
department with a fairly equal distribution of men and women, and we
have the greatest number of tenured female faculty in the School of
Medicine. The department is comprised of 22 medical divisions and
programs operating in conjunction with four key enterprises: Education,
Research, Clinical, and Academic. Divisions provide a full spectrum of
specialty and subspecialty pediatric services for children throughout
the Intermountain West.
About Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah
Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) is one of the world’s top academic
research and cancer treatment centers. HCI manages the Utah
Population Database – the largest genetic database in the world,
with more than 16 million records linked to genealogies, health records,
and vital statistics. Using this data, HCI researchers have identified
several cancer-causing genes, including the genes responsible for
melanoma, colon and breast cancer, and paraganglioma. HCI is a member of
Comprehensive Cancer Network (a 26-member alliance of the world’s
leading cancer centers) and is a National
Cancer Institute-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. HCI treats
patients with all forms of cancer and operates several high-risk clinics
that focus on melanoma and breast, colon, and pancreas cancers. The HCI
Cancer Learning Center for patient and public education contains one of
the nation’s largest collections of cancer-related publications. The
institute is named after Jon
M. Huntsman, a Utah philanthropist, industrialist, and cancer