McNall-Knapp started her career in cancer research at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in 1998. Every year since then, she has seen the federal government cut 10 percent from the money allocated for pediatric cancer research.
“So there are actually questions that we want to ask that we don't have money to ask,” she said. “We have kids who would like to be on studies, and there is no study available because there's not enough money for it.”
For example, McNall-Knapp wants to research a newly approved breast cancer drug that has shown promise in treating leukemia and children's tumors. The drug company won't pay for the study, so she's looking for funding to study the drug and what impact it would have in children.
“It takes money to do that kind of thing, but it's so promising in mice,” she said. “I want to get it into kids who are dying of diseases as soon as possible.”
On Saturday, the day before McNall-Knapp goes to the St. Baldrick's event, she will go to the funeral of one of her patients.
“We need better targeted therapy, so we don't have to give our babies such toxic therapy when their bodies are growing and supposed to be developing,” she said. “That's what we're looking for.”
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If you go
The St. Baldrick's Oklahoma City event is at VZD's Restaurant and Club, 4200 N Western Ave., from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday and will include live entertainment and food trucks.