AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The MTK Foundation is known for assisting area families with costs for medical treatment of children who are battling pediatric cancer. Now, the foundation is teaming up with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center by contributing to their research.
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 11,000 children under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer this year. Organizations like MTK are trying to put an end to the disease by ensuring children receive the right medication when diagnosed.
“The MTK Foundation actually gave a grant foundation to the health science center to do some specific pediatric cancer research studies,” Levi Knebusch, MTK Foundation executive director, stated.
Texas Tech will be conducting studies on medications that are used in fighting cancers mostly seen in children.
Currently, many of the drugs used to treat cancer can be helpful to the patient, but the side effects can be harmful.
“If we can figure out a way to make these drugs essentially harmless to the healthy cells in the body then it’s almost a silver bullet.”
The non-profit said they are on a mission to find a way to make the drugs target cancer cells specifically.
“One of the studies that we are doing right now is a study on methotrexate and the reproductions of the cognitive systems in children, essentially making the drug a better drug because it’s about 94 to 95 percent effective,” Knebusch explained.
The end goal is to see the drugs use that high effectiveness solely on the cancer cells and by doing so will change and save more lives.
“Until we break the cycle and we find a cure or we find a treatment that works without making it so deadly to the children that they end up dying as a result of the chemotherapy then we’ll never break that cycle,” Knebusch said.
The non-profit said they are going to continue assisting local families in need and that this is just another added project.