Creation of the Osteosarcoma Institute Announced

November 09, 2017

Osteosarcoma Institute Launched with Seed Funding From The QuadW Foundation

Dallas, TX and Maui, HI—In conjunction with the 2017 Connective Tissue Oncology Society (CTOS) Annual Meeting in Maui, Hawaii, the What Would Willie Want (QuadW) Foundation today announced the creation of the Osteosarcoma Intstitute, an organization created to develop and execute a comprehensive, rational strategy to improve the life expectancy of relapsed and metastatic osteosarcoma (OS) patients by 10x. With a commitment of $10 million in seed funding, QuadW anticipates that the Osteosarcoma Institute will change the OS landscape through a concerted and focused effort by some of the most distinguished scientists, physicians, patient advocates, and philanthropists in the field.

OS is the most common bone cancer but remains rare, with approximately 800 new cases each year in the U.S. Roughly half of these cases are in children and young adults, mostly teenagers. With the advent of modern chemotherapy in the 1970s, the five-year survival rate for osteosarcoma patients improved to about 70%, but has not significantly improved over the 40 years since then. Importantly, there are no effective treatment options for the 30% of patients whose disease is not controlled by surgery and first-line chemotherapy. After over 10 years of supporting OS research initiatives and two years of careful study regarding the lack of progress in improving outcomes in refractory OS, QuadW determined that a new strategy is warranted to accelerate the development of more effective, less toxic treatments for patients utilizing recent advances in genomic and biological understanding.

The Osteosarcoma Institute will employ the following strategy:

  • Capitalize on recent advances in science to overcome resource and knowledge gaps that have hindered progress
  • Meet the needs of commercial interests that will produce new therapeutics
  • Engage patients and their friends, families, and advocates
  • Commit to provide significant seed funding and raise the additional funding required to achieve the goal

The Osteosarcoma Institute will operate under the leadership of its newly appointed Director, Lee J. Helman, MD., with input from the Institute’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), which is tasked with identifying impediments to progress and devising strategies to overcome them. Nobel Laureate Michael S. Brown, M.D., along with outstanding scientists from the fields of fundamental biological research, clinical translation, and biotechnology and pharmaceutical drug development comprise the SAB. Another group of distinguished scientists, physicians, patient advocates, and philanthropists will form the Osteosarcoma Institute Executive Board, which will approve strategy and monitor progress.

Lee Helman remarked, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead the Institute at a time of unprecedented opportunity to translate our increased scientific understanding of the genomic and biologic underpinnings of osteosarcoma to significantly improve outcome for patients.”

The QuadW Foundation will continue to support its additional focus areas, including higher education, personally transforming missional opportunities, and supporting young talent in the sarcoma field. For more information about the Osteosarcoma Institute, visit

About Lee J. Helman, M.D.

Dr. Helman is Director of the Cancer and Blood Diseases Research Program of The Saban Research Institute at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. He received his M.D. from the University of Maryland School of Medicine magna cum laude in 1980 and was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha. He completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Barnes Hospital Washington University also serving as Chief Resident. Dr. Helman began his fellowship training at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 1983. He did his post-doctoral training in the Molecular Genetics Section, Pediatric Branch, NCI, and became Head of the Molecular Oncology Section, Pediatric Oncology Branch, NCI, in 1993. He served as Chief of the Pediatric Oncology Branch from 1997-2007, and served as Scientific Director for Clinical Research in the Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute from 2007 to 2016. He is a founding member and past president of the Connective Tissue Oncology Society (CTOS).

About the QuadW Foundation

Created in memory of Willie Tichenor and in response to his wishes, the What Would Willie Want (QuadW) Foundation provides financial support to people and organizations pursuing innovative ideas and opportunities in the areas of higher education, sarcoma research, personally transforming mission experiences and general philanthropy. QuadW’s accomplishments will reflect the light-hearted but whole-hearted spirit that Willie embodied. To learn more about the QuadW Foundation, visit


Contact: Lee J. Helman, M.D.
Telephone: 323-361-6058

Contact: QuadW
Telephone: 214-459-3330


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