The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in the US has received a $6.4m donation from the Holveck family to support research in osteosarcoma and other rare cancers.

The three-year gift, known as the Connor Initiative: Precision Therapeutics for Osteosarcoma & Rare Cancers, is aimed at unlocking new treatments for osteosarcoma.

Osteosarcoma is said to be the most common malignant bone tumour in children and young people and is challenging to treat due to its unique nature in each patient.

CHOP paediatric oncologist Theodore Laetsch said: “While surgery and chemotherapy are effective in treating some patients with osteosarcoma, clinical trials testing new drugs have not identified new curative treatments for this rare and complex disease.

“Treatment and research of osteosarcoma need a true precision medicine approach.”

Laetsch leads the Developmental Therapeutics Program and the Very Rare Malignant Tumors Program at the hospital.

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The initiative will support research into new therapies, leveraging advanced models, tumour profiling techniques, and real-time feedback from patients, with the goal of launching clinical trials quickly.

It also includes a dedicated nurse navigator to assist patients and families throughout the process.

The Holveck Family donated the funds in memory of Connor Boyle, who passed away from osteosarcoma at the age of 18.

Connor’s grandparents, David and Patricia Holveck, have played a crucial role in establishing the Mitochondria and Cancer Connections Research Program at CHOP.