PANDAs (People Acting Now Discover Answers) Raise More Than $500,000 For UA Steele Children's Research Center

The funds will be used for two projects: Completion of the PANDAs’ $1 million commitment to establish the PANDA Children’s Neurological Center and establishment of the PANDA Children’s Cancer Immunology Program.
Panda Fashion showTUCSON, Ariz. – The 11th annual PANDA “Children Helping Children” Fashion Show and Luncheon raised more than $500,000 for the Steele Children’s Research Center at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.
 
The April 10 fashion show took place at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, and was created by the Phoenix Women’s Board for the Steele Center, known as PANDA – People Acting Now Discover Answers. The PANDAs have been raising money for the Steele Center for 11 years.
 
The funds will be used for two projects: Completion of the PANDAs’ $1 million commitment to establish the PANDA Children’s Neurological Center and establishment of the PANDA Children’s Cancer Immunology Program.
 
PANDA Children’s Cancer Immunology Program
Led by Steele Center pediatric oncologist, Emmanuel Katsanis, MD, professor and Louise Thomas Endowed Chair in Pediatric Cancer Research, this program will focus on the continuing development of promising anti-cancer vaccines to stimulate the immune system to fight cancer.  The program will fund transitioning successful laboratory research to human clinical trials and recruiting additional scientists to the Steele Center to expand its pediatric cancer immunology research. “We’re very grateful to the PANDAs,” says Dr. Katsanis. “This funding will enable us to expand our program and move our research forward.”
 
PANDA Children’s Neurological Center
The PANDA Children’s Neurological Center will help children suffering from neurological conditions, including traumatic brain injury, stroke, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and autism. The center will be an outpatient facility staffed with developmental pediatricians, neonatologists, a neurologist, psychologist, psychiatrist, epileptologist and speech, occupational and physical therapists. “Children with neurological problems have many complex issues, so it will be enormously beneficial to have all of the specialists in one outpatient location, working as a team to help these children,” says Sydney Rice, MD, assistant professor, Section of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics in the UA Department of Pediatrics. Completion of the pediatric neurological center is scheduled for 2011.
 
This year’s fashion show featured 65 children and patients of modeling clothing provided by Urban Kidz and Garage – A Body Shop for Kids, a silent auction and raffle.
 
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The University of Arizona College of Medicine, University Physicians Healthcare and University Medical Center work together to care for patients, educate medical students, train resident-physicians and conduct clinical and basic research. The UA Steele Children’s Research Center and UMC are working together to build Diamond Children’s Medical Center (www.diamondchildrens.org), now under construction and scheduled to open in 2010. Diamond Children's will be Arizona’s only pediatric inpatient medical center connected to an academic research facility – the Steele Center (www.steelecenter.arizona.edu).