People Acting Now Discover Answers (PANDA)

Founded in 1999, the Phoenix Women's Board of the Steele Children's Research Center, affectionately known as PANDA (People Acting Now Discover Answers), supports discovery processes to improve treatments and cures for devastating childhood diseases.
Each year the PANDAs hold a children's fashion show called “Children Helping Children." So far, the PANDAs have raised more than $4.5 million dollars to support the Steele Center. 
To learn more about the PANDAs, visit their website.

PANDA Project Highlights:

2015: PANDA Anti-Tumor Immunity Program

Funded the $1M+ Anti-Tumor Immunity Program to identify new generation anti-cancer drugs with the ability to contain and develop natural immunity to cancer cells and reduce the emergence of tumor cell clones.

2014: PANDA Children's Autoimmune Disorders Project

The 2014 proceeds continued to fund the PANDA Children’s Autoimmune Disorders Project and endowment to help unravel the mystery of common autoimmune issues among children--like type 1 diabetes, juvenile arthritis, Crohn’s disease, colitis, severe food allergies, eosinophilic esophagitis, and celiac disease to name a few.

2013: PANDA Children’s Autoimmune Disorders Project

The 2013 proceeds created the PANDA Children's Autoimmune Disorders Project to help unravel the mystery of autoimmune diseases among children.

2012: Phoenix Translational Research Center

The 2012 proceeds funded the Steele Children’s Research Center – Phoenix Translational Center. Developing a physical presence in Maricopa County will allow the Steele Center to lead the state’s pediatric basic science research, with bench-to-bedside discoveries at its laboratory center in Tucson, while partnering with clinical enterprises in Maricopa County to fully expand its translational reach in downtown Phoenix. The Phoenix Translational Center will help to provide the resources for physician-scientists to carry out safe, efficient and ethical clinical research involving children, train and develop pediatric investigators for the future and educate the public on children’s health and advances in the treatment of pediatric diseases.

2011: PANDA Healthy Babies Program

The 2011 project helped fund efforts to help some of the most vulnerable patients, babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). 

More than a half million babies in the United States and nearly 10,000 in Arizona are born prematurely each year. Preterm birth is the leading cause of infant illness and accounts for more than two thirds of all infant deaths. The PANDA Healthy Babies Project is working to increase the likelihood that babies can leave the NICU healthy and in the shortest amount of time. Of the myriad of health issues that premature babies face, Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) is the most common gastrointestinal disease that affects them. NEC is an inflammatory disease that can cause destruction of the intestine and in its severest form can result in surgical removal of portions of the affected intestine. Sadly, 20% to 40% of babies affected with NEC will die from the disease.

2010: PANDA Children's Cancer Immunology Program

Project 2010 funded the PANDA Children’s Cancer Immunology Program that is on the cutting-edge of offering a promising option to fight cancer. Children fighting cancer face tremendous odds. Despite advances in survival rates, chemotherapy and radiation are toxic, causing short-term suffering and long-term complications.The PANDA Children’s Cancer Immunology Program funded research for a new option of treatment—immunotherapy. Immunotherapy re-programs a child’s own disease-fighting cells to recognize his or her own individual cancer cells and prevent them from multiplying. Scientists believe that a child’s own immune system may become an effective way to treat cancer or to prevent relapses. Dr. Emmanuel Katsanis at the Steele Children’s Research Center heads a team of physician-scientists conducting research in pediatric immunotherapy. Dr. Katsanis and the Steele Center are one of the few research centers in the country conducting pediatric cancer immunology research and developing novel immunotherapy treatments against cancer.

2009: PANDA Children's Neurological Center

The 2009 "Children Helping Children" Fashion Show and Golf Tournament proceeds established the "PANDA Children's Neurological Center," a new comprehensive care facility to help children and families receive state-of-the-art specialized care in a single location. The facility is focused on improving the lives of thousands of families in Arizona whose children suffer from neurological disorders -encompassing traumatic brain injury, stroke, autism, near-drownings, meningitis, brain tumors, cerebral palsy and other causes.

2008: Women in Science

The 2008 “Children Helping Children” Fashion Show proceeds funded the “Women in Science” program being developed at the Steele Children’s Research Center. While more and more women enter the medical field every year, currently only 25% of physicians are women and even fewer practice medical research. The Steele Center’s “Women in Science” program supports promising female physician-scientists as they build their clinical and research careers.

2007: The PANDA Children's Aerodigestive Disorders Center

The PANDA Children’s Aerodigestive Disorders Center is both a clinical and research facility.  It is the only one of its kind in the entire state of Arizona.  The center serves children who are suffering from eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders – disorders of the digestive tract caused by allergies to food and airborne allergens.  These disorders are known as “EE” for eosinophilic esophagitis, and “EG” for eosinophilic gastroenteritis (a more debilitating form of EE).  Children with EE or EG often fail to grow, suffer from nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, choking, cramping, and diarrhea.  Arizona has far more cases of EE/ EG than the national average, yet there was no place in the western U.S. where children can receive dedicated care for this painful disease.  In response, the PANDA Center now serves Arizona and the Southwest, employing a team approach to treat children with aerodigestive disorders.