Funding the science that leads to cures

A big part of our mission is to support cancer research. We are currently raising funds to support two campaigns: one is a DSRCT clinical study taking place in New York, and the other is building a genomics lab in Louisville, KY. Learn more about these projects below.


Therapeutic study for Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumor patients

The Steven Vanover Foundation currently supports a clinical trial led by Shakeel Modak, M.D., at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, NY.

This is one of the very few clinical trials studying treatments for desmoplastic small round cell tumors (DSRCT) in the United States. DSRCT is the rare form of soft tissue sarcoma that affected Steven.  

The Phase 1 study evaluated the safety and efficacy of utilizing antibodies, along with chemotherapy, to treat DSRCT.  These antibodies were developed to recognize tumor cells, and are delivered by injection.  Utilizing this method means that radiation is targeted directly to tumor cells. This is important because this treatment is potentially less toxic and more effective than traditional radiation therapy.

The Steven Vanover Foundation has donated over $200,000 to this study, making it the largest single contributor to the study’s funding, and allowing the study to move forward into Phase II. This money is used to support the production of these innovative antibodies into treatment, and to cover associated costs. These funds are vitally important because this clinical trial receives np government funding. 

Results from the study have not yet been published, but preliminary data is showing increased 14-month survival rates.

Learn more about this clinical trial.

Dr. Shakeel Modak explains how this clinical study is making a difference in the lives of patients with DSRCT.

Norton Cancer Institute Genomics Lab


Norton Cancer Institute will soon receive new genomics lab technology that will take cancer care to the next level, thanks to a generous gift from the Steven Vanover Foundation. The $250,000 gift will fund new Norton Cancer Institute lab technology. The technology, called Next Generation Sequencing, will allow for faster lab results that help physicians determine personalized treatment options for patients.

Currently, Norton Cancer Institute has access to Next Generation Sequencing through an outside vendor. By bringing the technology in-house, Norton Cancer Institute will be able to receive lab results in half the time, getting patients on a personalized treatment plan much faster. The technology examines cancerous tumors for specific mutations. Physicians then use that information to build personalized therapeutic cancer treatments that best target the mutations present in a patient’s cancer.

The new technology is expected to arrive by Fall 2019. The addition will make Norton Healthcare the first healthcare organization in Louisville with this capability.

The $250,000 gift was awarded to the Norton Healthcare Foundation during a check presentation at Norton Cancer Institute-Brownsboro on Thursday, July 25.