Surviving childhood cancer isn’t the end of the fight. As survivors age, heart disease and secondary cancers become two big risks, often caused by the very treatment needed to save their lives. Read on to learn more about the two main threats to survivors and how St. Baldrick’s researchers are working to help.
Since surviving a brain tumor as a child, Ambassador Grace has dealt with long-term effects from her treatment.
After beating childhood cancer, survivors should be living long and healthy lives, but that isn’t always the case.
Dr. Parsons, a genomics expert on the Stand Up To Cancer – St. Baldrick’s Pediatric Cancer Dream Team.
For example, we know that childhood cancer is caused by genetic mutations. What we don’t know is how or why most of those mutations occur.
And we’re still trying to figure out what the mutations mean — in terms of the cancer and its ability to thrive, and in terms of our bodies and their ability to overcome disease.
That’s the focus of genomics, explains Dr. Donald Parsons, the principal investigator at Baylor College of Medicine for the Stand Up To Cancer – St. Baldrick’s Pediatric Cancer Dream Team.
“Genomics is the study on a large scale of all the genetic changes that occur in a patient’s DNA,” Dr. Parsons says. “It really tries to look at — in a single patient or across a group of patients — all the different changes that occur and how they might interact with each other.”
Your donation to St. Baldrick’s funds pediatric cancer research. Donate now.Historically, scientists have largely relied on nature as a source for treatments for various ailments. The modern-day antibiotic penicillin, for example, is derived from mold. Opium made from poppy seeds was cultivated and used for its pain relieving properties by ancient civilizations, and it is still used today to make morphine, codeine, and other painkillers in the opioid class.
Now, thanks to advances in modern chemistry, scientists are able to synthesize hundreds of thousands of known drug compounds and store them in vast chemical libraries. With the aid of highly technical robots and computers, researchers can test the entire library for effectiveness in treating a certain disease in a process known as high-throughput screening.
Your donation to St. Baldrick’s supports pediatric cancer research. Donate now.There are things we can do that will increase our risk for cancer later in life, like tanning and smoking cigarettes. But childhood cancer is a different story.
Pediatric cancers are caused by genetic mutations. “However, since these mutations are unique to pediatric cancer, unique drugs need to be developed to treat these cancers,” explains Patrick Grohar, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatric hematology-oncology at Vanderbilt University and a St. Baldrick’s research grant recipient.
Dr. Grohar is working to develop new drugs that target one particular mutation found in Ewing sarcoma tumors, ultimately yielding more effective and less toxic treatments for this form of childhood cancer.
Dear St. Baldrick’s Community,
I am forever grateful that you have chosen to join us in the fight against childhood cancers. You give your time and lend your voice, but most importantly, you place your trust in us to use wisely every cent you raise.
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