Pedal the Cause raises $2 million to fight cancer

Pedal the Cause, the cycling event started three years ago to raise money for cancer research in St. Louis, surpassed its $2 million goal this year.

The proceeds – $2,057,200, to be exact – will support the work of Washington University scientists at the Siteman Cancer Center and St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Pedal the Cause, which includes rides of between 15 and 75 miles, drew 1,850 riders to downtown St. Louis Oct. 7. To date, the nonprofit has raised nearly $4.3 million.

The money helps fund these and other projects:

• Andrey Shaw, MD, and his team are using genome sequencing to understand why a new drug that inhibits melanoma growth has the unfortunate side effect of causing other benign and malignant nonmelanoma skin tumors.

• Cynthia Ma, MD, PhD, and her team are studying a subset of HER2-negative breast cancer with mutations that show promise of responding to anti-HER2 drugs.

• David Linehan, MD, and his fellow investigators are studying why cancer cells of pancreatic cancer patients evade chemotherapy.

“There are so many answers that are so close, and it’s events like this and these types of funds that will be able to fund (research) more quickly,” said Washington University medical oncologist Nancy Bartlett, MD. The 59 members of Bartlett’s Bikers raised $68,950, the third highest amount of any team this year.

Jay Indovino, executive director of Pedal the Cause, said the organization hopes to announce the next round of grant recipients before April.

“We absolutely love the fact that all the money we raise gets into their hands as quickly as possible,” he said.

Next year’s Pedal the Cause event is scheduled for Oct. 5 and 6.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.