The History of TTCF

The 14 Founding Members of Today's and Tomorrow's Children Fund (TTCF) made an inaugural gift of $70,000 to Dr. Daniel S. Levi, Assistant Professor in Pediatric Cardiology. He impressed the group with his innovative work in space-age materials, creating artificial heart valves that will one day be inserted via catheter to save children's lives.

In its second year, TTCF grew to 27 members (nearly doubling in size). Members awarded a $135,000 gift to Dr. Theodore B. Moore, Associate Clinical Professor in the UCLA Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. Dr. Moore's award-winning lecture, "Methods of Utilizing a Person's Own Immune System to Fight Cancer," described the multidisciplinary team's groundbreaking development of a new vaccine protocol for children with usually fatal multiform brain tumors. The new therapy takes stem cells from a patient's blood, which through a complex scientific process, are ultimately injected into the patient, teaching the patient's immune system to attack the cancer.

In its third year, TTCF grew to 32 members. Dr. Jacqueline Casillas, an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Associate Program Director of the UCLA-LIVESTRONG Survivorship Center of Excellence, was awarded a gift of $149,500 - the group's largest gift yet. Dr. Casillas focuses her research on the various aspects of childhood cancer survivorship. Her study follows the barriers to long term follow-up care, the pathophysiology of late effects and its increase in mortality, and the psychosocial growth of young adult survivors.

In July of 2009 TTCF had 26 members. Dr. Noah Federman, an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Director of the Pediatric Bone and Soft Tissue Sarcoma Program at UCLA, was awarded a gift of $135,000. His translational research developing nanoparticles to specifically target pediatric cancers is at the forefront of cancer therapeutics and represents the future in cancer treatments.

In July of 2010 TTCF had 58 members - more than doubling its membership! As a result, TTCF was able to make awards to each of our top three finalists. Grand Prize recipient, Dr. Christopher Giza, Associate Professor of Department of Neurology and Pediatric Neurology, was awarded a gift of $175,000 for his research on restoring plasticity after developmental brain injury. In addition, Dr. Rob Venick, Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, received $88,100 on his research entitled "Omega-3 fatty Acid and Parenteral Nutrition Associated Liver Disease" and Dr. Gary Satou, Associate Clinical Professor of Cardiology, received $63,100 for his project entitled "Telemedicine with Echocardiography (Heart Ultrasound) for Real-time Evaluation of Newborns."

In May of 2011 TTCF grew to 64 members. Once again, TTCF was able to make awards to each of our top three finalists. Grand Prize recipient, Dr. Kuk-Wha Lee, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Endocrinology, was awarded a gift of $150,000 for her research on Humanin, a Potential Therapy for Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). In addition, Dr. Paul Krogstad, Professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, received $110,300 on his research entitled "Discovery and Development of Drugs to Treat Enterovirus Infections" and Dr. Yonca Bulut, Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatric Critical Care, received $88,000 for her project entitled "Do No Harm: Is Iron Supplementation Worsening Infections in Children?."

In 2012, TTCF had 67 members, enabling awards to each finalist for the third year in a row. Dr. Tom Belle Davidson, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, received the grand prize of $140,000 for her research on dendritic-cell vaccination for pediatric high-grade glioma patients. Dr. Joyce Wu, Associate Professor of Pediatric Neurology, earned an award of $118,000 for her work on high-frequency oscillations as a potential biomarker for pediatric epilepsy, and Dr. Julian Martinez-Agosto, Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Genetics and Pediatrics, received an award of $90,000 for his research on genetic risk factors for autism and cancer predisposition.

The Future of TTCF
As a vital part of the UCLA Children's Discovery and Innovation Institute, TTCF continues to seek new members who share our vision for enhancing the health and well-being of today's and tomorrow's children. Join us in supporting extraordinary projects which will have a profound effect on children at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital and around the globe.