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May 11, 2011

Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC Children’s) today announced it has received a $10 million gift from Hyundai Motor America and its nonprofit organization, Hyundai Hope on Wheels. This is the largest corporate gift in the hospital’s history, and will be used to fund groundbreaking pediatric cancer research, using the latest advances in genomic medicine to provide more effective, individualized treatment for children afflicted with this disease. CHOC Children’s is recognizing this gift by naming its cancer center of excellence the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s.  

For more than a decade, the cure rate for pediatric cancer has been stalled at about 80 percent.  This research will focus on discovering cures for the remaining 20 percent by finding pathways of corrupted cells—or targeted genomic sequencing—and identifying specific drugs to attack cancer cells.  The research will also identify individual genetic pathways to assess risk factors in survivors who may be susceptible to other cancers and diseases.

The partnership marks Hyundai’s 13-year commitment to finding a cure for childhood cancer.  Since 1998, Hyundai and its dealers have been the driving force behind Hyundai Hope on Wheels, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness for childhood cancer while celebrating the lives of children battling this disease.  In the same manner Hyundai Motor America is committed to new thinking and new possibilities with their cutting edge vehicles, this same spirit of driving innovation by funding pediatric cancer research creates new possibilities for the thousands of children afflicted by cancer each year. 

"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.  

“Hyundai’s generous gift also supports the $125 million ‘Change CHOC, Change the World campaign,’” states Kim Cripe, president and CEO, CHOC Children’s. “The campaign aims to make Orange County, California one of the safest and healthiest places for children in the nation.” 

A New Approach to Childhood Cancer
The multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary Hyundai Cancer Institute will help physicians and patients choose the disease management approaches likely to work best for the patient.  The Hyundai gift will provide the following: 
• Develop a clinical research center for pediatric cancer, focused on the 20 percent of patients for whom traditional therapy is not working.
• Use CHOC Children’s approach as a Phase I pediatric cancer clinical trial center to provide the most cutting-edge treatment options.
• Develop a predictive model to understand the risk of future disease in the survivors of pediatric cancer.
• Develop strategic collaboration with academic researchers, genomic medicine technology industry leaders, biotechnology firms and pharmaceutical companies to bring the next generation of medicines to pediatric cancer patients.
“Nearly 900 medicines are in development for cancer treatment. Identifying the specific one that works on a child’s disease is the challenge,” explains 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.”  

“Every one of Hyundai’s over 800 dealers are committed to finding a cure,” said Oscar Leeser, Chairman of the Hyundai Hope on Wheels Foundation and dealer owner of Hyundai of El Paso in El Paso, Texas. “This significant investment is our unified way of drawing a line in the sand against this terrible disease. No child should have to hear they have cancer.”

With this gift, Hyundai and its nonprofit organization, Hope on Wheels will have committed more than $43 million in donations to pediatric cancer research since the program began.

Hyundai’s donation to name the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s will be recognized on the 5th floor Cancer Center of CHOC’s new, state-of-the-art tower, set to open in the City of Orange in Spring 2013.  However, the Hope on Wheels grant research work will begin in June 2011.

For more information about the Hyundai Cancer Institute, or to learn more about Hyundai Hope on Wheels, visit www.HyundaiHopeOnWheels.org.  

To learn more about ways to give to the “Change CHOC, Change the World" campaign, call the CHOC Children’s Foundation at (714) 532-8690 or visit www.choc.org/giving

Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 800 dealerships nationwide.

Hyundai Hope on Wheels® is the united effort of Hyundai Motor America and its more than 800 dealers across the U.S. to raise awareness about childhood cancer and to celebrate the lives of children battling the disease.  Since the program’s inception in 1998, Hyundai has pledged more than $43 million for childhood cancer research.  Hyundai Hope on Wheels is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  

Named one of the best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report (2014-2015) and a 2013 Leapfrog Top Hospital for the highest quality of care, Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC Children's) is exclusively committed to the health and well-being of children through clinical expertise, advocacy, outreach, education and research that brings advanced treatment to pediatric patients. Affiliated with the University of California, Irvine, CHOC’s regional health care network includes two state-of-the-art hospitals in Orange and Mission Viejo, many primary and specialty care clinics, a pediatric residency program, and four clinical centers of excellence - the CHOC Children’s Heart, Neuroscience, Orthopaedic and Hyundai Cancer Institutes..

CHOC earned the Gold Level CAPE Award from the California Council of Excellence, the only children’s hospital in California to ever earn this distinction, and was awarded Magnet designation, the highest honor bestowed to hospitals for nursing excellence.  Recognized for extraordinary commitment to high-quality critical care standards, CHOC’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is the first in the United States to earn the Beacon Award for Pediatric Critical Care Excellence.


Media Contact:
Denise Almazan, Director of Public Relations
phone: (714) 509-8680
email: pr@chocchildrens.org


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Children's Hospital of Orange County is affiliated with UC Irvine Healthcare and UC Irvine School of Medicine

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