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Hyundai gives $10 million to CHOC Children's

It's the largest corporate gift in the medical center's history and will fund pediatric cancer research.

By Kristen SchottPublished: May 11, 2011 11:20 AM

Fountain Valley-based Hyundai Motor America and its nonprofit arm have donated $10 million to CHOC Children's, marking the largest corporate gift in the medical center's history. The funds will be used to support pediatric cancer research at the Hyundai Cancer Institute, which now bears the automaker's name in recognition of the gift.

"We’ve found an incredible partner with CHOC Children’s, where breakthrough genomic research and individualized clinical care will move us closer to a world where no child dies of cancer,” said John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America.

Currently, 80 percent of those who suffer from pediatric cancer are cured – it's a rate that's been stalled for more than a decade, according to CHOC Children's. But beginning next month, new research funded through Hyundai's gift will be aimed at finding cures for the remaining 20 percent through targeted genomic sequencing and by identifying tailored drugs that attack cancer cells, among other methods.

The funds will also go toward developing a clinical research facility for childhood cancer; implementing the hospital's methods as a phase-one pediatric cancer clinical trial center to offer the most innovative treatments for patients; creating a predictive model that will help assess the risk of future diseases in survivors; and forming strategic collaborations with academic researchers, genomic medicine technology industry professionals, biotech firms and pharmaceutical companies.

“Nearly 900 medicines are in development for cancer treatment. Identifying the specific one that works on a child’s disease is the challenge,” said Dr. Leonard Sender, M.D., medical director of the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s. “This generous gift will help CHOC use the latest basic genomic science and translate it to our patients at the bedside.”

Hyundai Motor America's donation is part of its 13-year commitment to finding a cure for pediatric cancer. Since 1998, Hyundai Hope On Wheels, the automaker's nonprofit organization, has worked to raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer while recognizing and celebrating those who have the disease.

In addition, CHOC Children's CEO and President Kim Cripe said the donation supports the medical center's $125 million Change CHOC, Change the World campaign, which garnered a separate $30 million gift (the largest ever in the hospital's history) in February from a former Garden Grove business professional. (For more on that story, click here.)

Among the campaign's goals: helping the medical center gain national recognition as a top children's hospital.

“The campaign aims to make Orange County ... one of the safest and healthiest places for children in the nation,” said Cripe.

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