$3,720 Raised
"bold young, math-empowered minds are the rocket fuel for research innovation"
— Charles Keller MD, Scientific Director, cc-TDI

Charles Keller

Scientific Director
Children's Cancer Therapy Development Institute

The Children’s Cancer Therapy Development Institute (cc-TDI) is a unique non-profit organization focused on the ‘preclinical gap’ in childhood cancer research.  Our mission is to bridge scientific discovery and the initiation of clinical trials.  This concept was emphasized in the Institute of Medicine Report, Making Better Drugs for Children with Cancer in 2005.  cc-TDI now fills this needed role. 

Our research team is exploring and testing state-of-the-art treatment options for the most urgent issues facing children with cancer.  Biologists and bio-medical engineers work closely on teams to identify targets on cancer cells and determine how to safely deliver effective treatments. By proving these methods in the laboratory, we can deliver smart, hope-filled discoveries to be prioritized in clinical trials for kids. Working in our own freestanding research institution allows us to act swiftly and nimbly to achieve results—bringing cost control, speed, purpose, and focus to translate effective treatments into the clinic. To get there, we perform basic science and translational research in our industrial modern lab site (a paint factory remodeled by Nike as an off-site creative space), adjacent to the Silicon Forest in Oregon.


Creativity and mathematics fluency are the key to innovative new cures for childhood cancer.  

Those familiar with childhood & adolescent sarcomas may need no convincing that a deep biological understand and better drugs are needed for these pediatric cancers.  On the adult side of cancer, 12 or more effective drugs are FDA approved for every year, yet only 6 FDA-approved drugs have been intentionally developed for childhood cancer since 1978 (in 39 years) – none of which are for sarcoma. 

Bold young, math-empowered minds are the rocket fuel for research innovation - and cc-TDI is honored to provide Sunset High School students and alumni this opportunity to learn first-hand about childhood cancer biology, and to be part of developing new therapies for children & teens touched by cancer like sarcomas.  

Why is this important?

Nathalie Traller and Sam Day were both outspoken Sunset High School students who lost their lives to pediatric sarcomas. In their own ways, each was strongly committed to improving research and support for childhood cancer. This internship is a fitting legacy to their passions and a testament to the special connection each had with the Sunset community!


about Nathalie:

Nathalie Traller was a Sunset Apollo up through her Junior year when on October 5th, she "completed her race" with a rare sarcoma, Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma (ASPS) that has no known chemotherapy. While countless surgeries and tough symptoms presented challenges, Nathalie prized being at Sunset with her fellow students above all else. She was intent on heading to college, motivated to become a pediatric  oncology nurse and kept her grades strong. She loved football and basketball games, drama performances, Apollo Unplugged, studying Japanese and art. Twice she served as the Cram the Stands for Cancer Ambassador and served in Student Leadership where she helped to organize a blood drive. She shone as a Sophomore Homecoming Princess and took pride in  cheering her many friends in Cross Country. She blogged about the challenges of fighting cancer and how to reach out to others with differences. It was clear  she impacted a broad cross section of the Sunset student body through strength, courage, and kindness. 



about Sam:

Sam Day had a spirit that could energize a crowd and engage a room full of professionals. He was a compassionate leader with a creative and absorbent mind, soaking in information about world history and politics while movies like Lord of the Rings gave him deep ideas to ponder. If asked what was on his mind, he might have disclosed his latest business scheme or thoughts on how to turn Star Wars into a middle school drama production. Close friends and family have all heard him say, “I want to change the world.”

Diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma at age 9 caused him to lose his left leg and part of his right foot, excluding him from the sports he loved. He lived with cancer and its toxic treatments for six years, hoping research would create an opportunity for survival.  As an upcoming Apollo, Sam looked forward to participating in leadership, debate, business, and world history. He dreamed of someday being healthy enough to compete on Sunset High School’s water polo team. Sam died from cancer just one week before his freshman year at Sunset. The world shouldn't have to lose kids who love life so much. 



Who will benefit?

This internship opportunity is open to incoming Sunset High School students, current Sunset students, or alumni who are within 2 years of graduation from Sunset High School.  Requirements are an unweighted GPA of 3.7 or better.  Strong skills in mathematics are encouraged.  Interested students can contact charles@cc-tdi.org with a resume, a transcript and a list of contact information for three references.   


Funds for this project will be used for $1500 stipends given to each 6-week intern.  Funds above the goal will be used directly for research lab supplies for these interns' projects, and/or for future years' internships.