When people come together for a cause, incredible things happen. That’s true for St. Baldrick’s head-shaving events AND for the lifesaving work done by St. Baldrick’s researchers, especially the Stand Up To Cancer - St. Baldrick’s Pediatric Dream Team. As they say, teamwork makes the dream work! Read on to learn more about how cooperation and sharing between these researchers means big advances for kids with cancer.
They say two heads are better than one. But what about 149? That is how many brilliant brains are working together to conquer childhood cancers as part of the SU2C – St. Baldrick’s Pediatric Cancer Dream Team.
And it’s that cooperation that’s accelerating progress for kids and laying the foundation for better treatments and for cures, said Dr. Crystal Mackall and Dr. John Maris, co-leaders of the Dream Team.
For kids diagnosed with a rare and fatal type of brain tumor called DIPG, or diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, there is no cure and treatments are heartbreakingly scarce. St. Baldrick’s researcher Dr. Mark Souweidane is on a mission to change the bleak statistics on DIPG survival. Learn about his groundbreaking work so far and what’s coming next.
DIPG life expectancy is devastatingly short — with many kids dying within two years of diagnosis. Dr. Mark Souweidane wants to change that.
For kids with DIPG, treatment with radiation just lets them live a little while longer. Traditional chemo doesn’t work because of the blood-brain barrier. Tumor removal with surgery is out of the question, because the cancer is intertwined with the delicate tissues of the brainstem, which regulates breathing and other vital functions.
So, what does a doctor working on DIPG do to help these kids?
Honored Kid Leon is one tough cookie. He’s fought childhood cancer not just once, but twice, and this time, Leon and his family hope it’s gone for good — thanks to an immunotherapy trial run by Leon’s buddy Dr. Daniel Lee, an investigator with the Stand Up to Cancer – St. Baldrick’s Dream Team.
Leon and St. Baldrick’s researcher Dr. Daniel Lee share some smiles.
Everything changed one hot summer day in Colorado. Leon was spraying his cousins with a water gun and playing with the hose. Then the 9-year-old slipped on the slick deck and fell hard.
It was a badly bruised hip, said the doctors in the emergency room. It will heal. But it didn’t. Leon’s grandmother, Lisa, watched her normally active grandson walk gingerly and even resort to crutches.
Then she watched Leon get tired more quickly than a kid should. And then she watched him sleep. He slept and slept.
“And I knew then,” Lisa said. “I was like, ‘I think he’s sick again.’”
Kids fight cancer all over the world — but they don’t all have the same chance for a cure. This International Childhood Cancer Day, learn more about the global problem of childhood cancer and what St. Baldrick’s is doing about it, as explained by St. Baldrick’s researcher and Scientific Advisory Committee member Dr. Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo.
A child is fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, in New York. Another child is fighting ALL in Guatemala City. And another in rural Uganda.
All of those kids should have the chance to live long and healthy lives and have access to the best treatments possible. But the reality is more complicated.
Taking chemo meds every single day can be tough for a kid with cancer. They might forget or just not want to take them. Unfortunately, Dr. Smita Bhatia found that not swallowing that little pill can have big consequences. Read on to learn more about this problem, its effects, and how funding from St. Baldrick’s is helping.
Dr. Smita Bhatia is a pediatric oncologist who wants to keep her patients healthy by helping them stick to their chemo regimen.
For kids with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), having to take their chemo meds is as routine as their nightly bedtime story. That’s because for the last two years of their treatment, which is called maintenance, these children need to take their medication every single night.
But that doesn’t always happen.
St. Baldrick’s Fellow Dr. Elliot Stieglitz is a big reader, but not in the way that you might think. Over three years, he read the DNA of one hundred children with JMML, a rare leukemia, and he discovered something major. Read on to learn how his discovery could lead to better treatments for kids with this rare disease.
For St. Baldrick’s Fellow Dr. Elliot Stieglitz, being a pediatric oncologist is the perfect blend of emotional satisfaction and intellectual stimulation.
His heart is with the kids and their families, guiding them through the toughest time in their lives. His head is in the lab, trying to find better treatments for childhood cancer.
St. Baldrick’s Scholars Dr. Alex Huang and Dr. Agne Petrosiute are studying how switching off a protein could lead to new treatments and cures for kids with brain tumors. Read on for more about their unexpected discovery, its implications for immunotherapy, and why Dr. Huang compares himself to those fuzzy little bears in Star Wars.
Dr. Agne Petrosiute (left) and Dr. Alex Huang study how the immune system can be harnessed to fight pediatric brain cancer.
Dr. Alex Huang likens himself and his colleague, Dr. Agne Petrosiute, to Ewoks battling the Death Star.
“We are the Ewoks that found the controller on this planet, and all of a sudden the Death Star cannot put up the shield anymore,” he said. “And so now, Luke Skywalker can go in there and blow it up.”
It may seem like a curious explanation, but it fits.
When Honored Kid Will was 3 years old, he was diagnosed with cancer. Now, the third grader with the dimpled smile and bright eyes is healthy, thanks to a clinical trial made possible by St. Baldrick’s funding. Read on for Will’s story of survival.
NEW VIDEO: Will’s Story >
On the surface, Will looks like any other 8-year-old boy. He loves playing soccer, camping with his family, and playing with their dog, Jack. The third grader is a big fan of superheroes and is also quite the successful fisherman.
You’d never guess that most of his young life has been spent fighting cancer.
What happens when a group of experts come together to discuss developments in childhood cancer research and advocacy? Some inspiring conversations about new data, drugs and therapies, important childhood cancer legislation, and more — all to make sure we’re making the best investments with YOUR donations. Get the scoop on our 2016 Research and Advocacy Priorities Summit below.
Every couple of years, St. Baldrick’s brings together our experts to take stock of what we’re doing now, and to look to the future of childhood cancer research. We examine what we are doing well, what we can do better, and what we need to do to help kids with cancer not only survive, but thrive.
Nancy knows advocating for childhood cancer research is more than a job. For her, it’s a passion fueled by her son Scott’s leukemia diagnosis and the shocking shortage of kid-specific treatment options available to him — a topic she helped tackle in her recent work on a comprehensive childhood cancer landscape report. Read about Nancy’s journey from childhood cancer mom to advocate, and her take on the report, below.
When my son, Scott, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of 3, I wavered for a good three months between wanting to know everything about childhood cancer and not wanting read a single thing.
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