A Pill That Turns Off Childhood Cancer

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
May 17, 2012

(Photo courtesy of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)

Researchers are making progress with a drug that can literally turn off cancer cells for some patients with lymphoma and neuroblastoma — with the help of St. Baldrick’s donors!

This discovery is part of an important movement toward more targeted therapies — those that target only cancer cells, leaving healthy cells alone. These therapies avoid the often severe side effects — and sometimes life-long effects — of treatments that affect the whole body or large areas, such as chemotherapy and radiation. Instead, they zero in on a particular gene or target, stopping cancer cells from continuing to grow and spread through the body.

“Early results from a Children’s Oncology Group study suggest that a new drug, crizotinib, may be of significant benefit to children and adolescents with an uncommon form of lymphoma, anaplastic large cell lymphoma,” said Dr. Peter C. Adamson, Chair, Children’s Oncology Group and Chief, Division of Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

“Support from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation was instrumental in our ability to conduct this trial. On behalf of the COG, the children and families we care for, I thank the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and all of its many supporters,”Dr. Adamson adds.

The Phase I and II clinical trials that resulted in this exciting news were funded, in part, by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, through its grant to the Children’s Oncology Group. As with most research, this discovery is the culmination of many years of research by a team of experts.

Dr. Yael Mosse announced the study findings on May 16, 2012, in advance of her presentation in early June at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

St. Baldrick’s donors and volunteers can take great pride in playing a role in funding research that is saving lives right now. We can look forward to even more great news, as scientists learn more about how to make the most of these discoveries!

Read about other exciting childhood cancer research outcomes the St. Baldrick’s Foundation has helped fund.