What was once just a concept is now a reality: Precision pediatric cancer care to improve treatment.
Researchers can now sequence all the genes in the genome in an individual patient’s cancer to find gene changes or targets, and then in some cases, identify drugs that match those targets to improve treatment. (A genome includes all the genes in a cell, in this case, a cancer cell.)
This has absolutely transformed how doctors treat children with cancer in some cases.
When the St. Baldrick’s Foundation announced its latest grant recipients today – via a press release that you can see here: Press Release – we were pleased to report that more than $17 million was awarded to a total of 55 recipients.
To put that into perspective, we award $27 million toward grants and advocacy efforts this year, so this represents the largest of our funding cycles during the year. (A complete list of the institutions that were awarded grants can be found at the end of this blog post. )
With its recent commitment of $500,000 for the Target Pediatric AML initiative, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation adds another chapter to its long story of support for innovative and impactful research in childhood acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
While great progress has been made over many decades to help children survive the most common childhood cancer – acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) – the same has not held true for children with AML.
St. Baldrick’s is helping change that.
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is tough for doctors to treat. Because of that, the intense treatment needed to beat AML can be especially tough on the kids who have it. St. Baldrick’s researcher Dr. Anders Kolb wants to change that with targeted therapy. To do this, he’s getting a little help from his friends – including St. Baldrick’s.
Dr. Anders Kolb is one of St. Baldrick’s newest grantees.
Many kids in treatment for AML are getting hammered by strong treatments, like intense chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants. These therapies can save their lives, but often come with a steep cost as they grow up.
“There’s only so much we can do with the tools in our toolbox,” said Dr. Anders Kolb, who works at the Alfred I. Dupont Hospital for Children in Delaware. “We have five different hammers and they’re all really big hammers. We don’t have anything that is more subtle and more targeted.”
Not yet, at least.
What do childhood cancer researchers do when they see a problem? They band together to solve it. Read on to learn why institutions across Texas and California are joining forces and what they’re doing to help kids with cancer.
Dr. Philip Lupo is the principal investigator of the REDIAL Consortium, as well as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and Co-Director of the Epidemiology Program at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers.
Years ago, St. Baldrick’s researcher Dr. Philip Lupo and his colleagues at Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine noticed a problem.
According to studies they read and stories Dr. Lupo heard from clinicians, kids who are Hispanic don’t do as well on treatment as other kids with acute leukemias. They are more likely to experience complications and are at higher risk of relapse than kids of other backgrounds.
But scientists don’t know exactly why that is.
When the school bell rang for summer break, what did you do? Swim like a fish? Swing as high as the stars? Swoon over your summer love? Press pause on reliving those childhood glory days for a second, because we’ve got great news. Together, we are helping kids with cancer get back to being kids — all that summer fun included. Say hello to our 2017 Summer Grants!
Dr. Hilary Marusak received a St. Baldrick’s Supportive Care Research grant for her work studying whether a martial arts therapy that focuses on meditation and breathing techniques can reduce pain — and pain’s negative long-term impact — in kids with cancer and survivors.
Today, St. Baldrick’s is proud to announce our latest round of grants — our 2017 Summer Grants, totaling $23.5 million.
Meet the newest winner of the Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award — Dr. Kim Stegmaier. Dr. Stegmaier always loved kids but never thought she’d work in a lab trying to help them. Never say never! Read on to learn more about Dr. Stegmaier, her pioneering work in kids’ cancer research and her memorable meeting with Dr. Arceci himself.
Dr. Kim Stegmaier is the Vice Chair of Pediatric Oncology Research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the co-director of the Pediatric Hematologic Malignancy Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana-Farber. Photo by Samuel Ogden
In her fifth year of medical school, Dr. Kimberly Stegmaier fell in love.
No, she didn’t fall in love with a cute fellow student. And no, she wasn’t pining for a lab tech either.
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.
Kids are special, and childhood cancers are different than adult cancers. That’s why we’re funding research to find new therapies and cures just for kids.
We asked our researchers, “In the last 10 years, what’s been the greatest achievement in the field of pediatric cancer research?”
Here’s what they had to say.
Micah dances to his favorite song, “Let It Go,” in his hospital room at CHLA. A nurse helped him with some choreography and whenever Micah has visitors he puts on a show.
Careful of the lines attached to an IV in his wrist and to a port in his chest, the 4-year-old will raise his hands and twist his hips in his room at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), where he’s participating in a clinical trial partly funded by St. Baldrick’s.
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