Our Little Cheerleader

One of Isabella’s favorite days of her life.
We LOVE the Carolina Panthers and excited to see them play in the first pre-season game tonight. Make-A-Wish Central & Western North Carolina and The Carolina Panthers Top Cats made her an honorary Top Cat for the day in November of 2011. She was low on energy but she muscled up the strength for the day. The crowd was so amazing to her and everyone on the Panthers organization laid out the red carpet for the Santos family. Her picture still hangs in the Top Cat locker room to this day.
As a previous Wish Family, we understand the importance of a child’s wish and how a wish experience can be a game-changer for a child with cancer.  The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.  Over the past 10 years, ISF has donated over $143,000 to Make-A-Wish, granting over 24 wishes in the state of North Carolina.
Donate today to take action for pediatric cancer in Isabella’s honor.

ISF Funds The SADA Drug Delivery Platform with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Erin and Sophia Santos, Dr. Cheung & the MSKCC Neuroblastoma team

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC is one of the top Neuroblastoma research facilities in the country.   Dr. Cheung, head of the neuroblastoma program, and his team are doing remarkable things. In December of 2016, Isabella Santos Foundation gave $202,000 to Dr. Cheung’s team to help push a research program, The SADA drug delivery platform, forward.  We thank you for allowing us to choose these programs that will help move the needle forward on something we feel is really important and a step in the right direction for research and treatment.

One of the difficulties with previous cancer therapeutics has been the inability to control off-target effects.  Children may have the possibility to beat neuroblastoma, but then die from unintended long term side-effects caused from the traditional chemotherapies that affect all parts of the body.  The SADA drug delivery platform was created to control drug delivery with such precision that toxicity only occurs where the drug is picked up by tumor cells, and not to normal bone marrow, the immune system, kidney or other vital organs.  This  novel technology has the potential to completely change the way we deliver strong medicines needed for children, where off-target effects could be devastating with long term consequences.

Isabella Santos Foundation is funding the construction of the proteins that target the tumor cells, and the testing of these proteins in the fight against neuroblastoma.  If successful, this will not only make treatments safer and more effective for neuroblastoma, but can be transferred to use in all cancers.  

Isabella was treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering and we have seen the remarkable programs Dr. Cheung and his team have worked on.  Isabella ran out of treatment options.  She died because her cancer has very little funding.  We continue to work to change that.

Dr. Cheung

ISF Funds Frontline MIBG Therapy with the Children’s Oncology Group

In this picture is Isabella in MIBG therapy at CHOPT in Philadelphia. Isabella not only received this as a end of life treatment instead of a frontline therapy… she had to travel away from her home and family to receive it. This will be a game changer for kids fighting.

In 2016, funded a Frontline MIBG Therapy project with the Children’s Oncology Group (COG). The purpose of this project was to determine the effectiveness of pulling MIBG therapy, which was traditionally used as an end of life treatment, to the frontline of therapy for children with high-risk Neuroblastoma. We are excited to announce, thanks to your donations – this trial is ready for children across the country. Starting in August of 2018, the COG will start the process of enrolling over 800 children with high-risk Neuroblastoma and will enroll children over the next 3 years. Tomorrow night, Dr. Peter Adamson, Chair of the Children’s Oncology Group, will be with us here is Charlotte to speak at a private event about the advancement of the program. Can’t wait to share more updates.

This is great news for Charlotte because as you know, ISF has agreed to fund the creation of a MIBG at Levine Children’s Hospital! We are inching towards our goal of $1 MILLION DOLLARS and anticipate breaking ground in 2018. What this means is that in just one year, our local children will benefit from a trial that YOU supported in a room that YOU built. This trial hopes to reduce the number of children who relapse and reduce the burden of late effects of therapy. Amazing.

This is due to your support. So thank you. Children of Charlotte thank you.

We were so proud to have been able to donate a total of $175,000 to the COG through three of their children’s cancer trials and programs.  Learn more about the programs YOU helped us fund through the COG.

Your Donations at Work Fighting Childhood Cancers, $175,000 Granted

The Children’s Oncology Group is the first line of defense for a child diagnosed with cancer–including neuroblastoma.  In 2016, we were so proud to have been able to donate a total of $175,000 to three of their children’s cancer trials and programs for 2017.  Next month, we are excited to have Dr. Peter Adamson, Chair of the Children’s Oncology Group, with us in Charlotte to speak at a private event.  We look forward to hearing more about the advancements of the trials and programs you helped us fund.  Below you can read what each children’s cancer trial or program entails.


We are proud to have donated 100K for a Phase 3 trial to specifically evaluate the effectiveness of frontline MIBG therapy for children with newly diagnosed high-risk neuroblastoma that will open in the summer of 2017. Up to 800 patients will enroll on this trial. A trial of this scale will not only answer key clinical questions regarding targeted therapies, but will also provide an unprecedented opportunity to evaluate novel biomarkers that may guide treatment for future patients. We hypothesize that rational selection of therapy based on results of validated biomarker studies will improve the care of children with newly diagnosed high-risk neuroblastoma, thereby reducing the number of children who relapse and reducing the burden of late effects of therapy. ISF will be supporting this study as well as the cost of supplying blood and tumor samples that will help us understand which children are most likely to benefit from MIBG therapy.


Could you imagine if we could prevent some of the frightening processes that children have to go through just to detect cancer?  The treatments are tough enough so we are eager to see another option for these kids who are facing so much already.  By supporting Project Every Child in 2017, ISF is helping an exciting technology that has been developed within test tubes that will allow cancer to be detected through a blood test.  Circulating tumor DNA may provide a method for monitoring disease status during treatment and may be a means with which to detect changes in neuroblastoma mutation status without the need for invasive biopsies.  Currently, children are put through painful procedures as well as exposure to repeated radiation to determine if cancer is present in their system, which may no longer be necessary with this new technology.


Project EveryChild is a single research study run by The Children’s Oncology Group that aims to capture the biology and outcome of every child diagnosed with cancer in the United States.  Participation is offered to every child diagnosed with cancer, no matter how common or rare the cancer may be.  The ultimate goal is to collect biospecimens, including tumor tissue, host, and when feasible, parental DNA samples, which are stored at the COG’s state-of-the-art biorepository at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.  These samples may then be utilized by any scientist in their studies to find new and improved cure for pediatric cancer.