Research

Destroying the Defenses: Researchers Fight Brain Tumors With Immunotherapy

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
December 15, 2016

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. Alex Huang and Dr. Agne Petrosiute

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.

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Families

‘Pura Vida!’: Phineas’ Summer in Costa Rica

by Carlos Sandi
September 19, 2016

Ambassador Phineas’ dad, Carlos, shares what the family has been up to this past summer, and he looks back at where their family was 10 years ago — and where they might be now if it weren’t for the immunotherapy clinical trial that saved Phineas’ life.

Phineas Costa Rica water

Ten years ago I was nearing the end of the worst summer of my life.

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Kids with Cancer

‘My One Ticket to Live On’: How a Clinical Trial Saved Mitch Carbon’s Life

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
September 9, 2016

Like most college freshmen, Mitch Carbon is excited to be getting a fresh start. But unlike his peers, just two years ago, he didn’t think he’d live to see this day. Read on for more of Mitch’s story and the clinical trial that saved his life — all made possible by YOU.

Mitch hugs his dad

When Mitch Carbon was a junior in high school, he was preparing to die.

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Families

A Real Chance at Life: Rex’s Story

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
September 2, 2016

This month marks three years since Rex was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, and the 4-year-old and his family are celebrating. Why? Because thanks to a St. Baldrick’s-funded immunotherapy treatment, Rex still shows no evidence of disease. Read on for more about rambunctious Rex and his incredible childhood cancer journey.

Rex smiles at the camera

Rex was diagnosed with childhood cancer when he was just 18 months old. Now he’s a high-energy, fun-filled 4-year-old.

For 4-year-old Rex, everything is go big or go home.

“He runs everywhere. He doesn’t just take steps, he leaps. He doesn’t have an inside voice, just an outside voice. He throws everything, breakable or not,” his mom, Lesley, said.

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Advocacy

‘Imagine What It’s Like’: Carlos Takes His Story to Capitol Hill

by Carlos Sandi
May 17, 2016

Yesterday, Ambassador Phineas’ dad, Carlos, joined more than 200 childhood cancer advocates on Capitol Hill to drum up support in Washington for kids with cancer. He opened up about what it’s like to have two children diagnosed with cancer, how research saved his son’s life, and why he won’t stop telling his family’s story. Read his powerful speech below.

Carlos and Phineas Sandi

Carlos with his son, Phineas. Phineas was diagnosed with cancer when he was 4, six years after his sister Althea died of childhood cancer.

I live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, but like most of my neighbors, I’m not actually from North Carolina. Chapel Hill is a college town where new people come and go every year.

Whenever my wife and I meet people for the first time, one of the first questions we get asked is, “So, how did you end up in Chapel Hill?”

When I hear that question, I always freeze for a second because I have to decide carefully how I want to answer.

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Families

How Immunotherapy Saved Phineas [VIDEO]

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
December 8, 2015

“Our son would not be with us today if it weren’t for St. Baldrick’s,” says Phineas’ dad, Carlos. Read on to see how research saved the little boy’s life.

NEW VIDEO: Phineas’ Story >

Phineas Sandi smiles as he looks into the distance

On a recent mountain bike ride with a friend, 7-year-old Phineas was sailing along when he decided to take a risk and pedal over a bridge not meant for bicycle traffic. He wiped out in a big way.

But without so much as a single tear, he picked himself up, dusted himself off, and got back on the bike.

Compared to what this boy had been through two years before, that was nothing.

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Research

Researcher Targets Childhood Cancer With a Virus

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
October 14, 2015

Just mentioning herpes might make some people a little nervous, but in this story, herpes is the good guy. Read on for more about St. Baldrick’s Scholar Dr. Gregory Friedman’s work on a genetically altered version of the virus that could be the next targeted therapy for kids with brain tumors.

Dr. Friedman smiles with a young patient in an exam room

Dr. Friedman smiles with a young patient in an exam room at Children’s of Alabama.

St. Baldrick’s Scholar Dr. Gregory Friedman discovered that the herpes simplex virus, with a few modifications, will kill pediatric brain cancer cells — without causing cold sores.

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Research

Ambassador Lauren Completes Childhood Cancer Internship

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
September 24, 2014

During a unique internship with St. Baldrick’s Scholar Dr. Dean Lee, Ambassador Lauren ran experiments on her own blood, leveraging her childhood cancer battle to further research into a cure. Join Lauren in contributing to childhood cancer research.

Lauren studied her own blood during an internship with St. Baldrick's Scholar Dr. Dean Lee

Ambassador Lauren was able to study her own blood during her internship with St. Baldrick’s Scholar Dr. Dean Lee.

When Lauren was offered the chance at an internship with St. Baldrick’s Scholar Dr. Dean Lee, she never thought she’d be contributing her own blood to science. When Lauren found out, she was elated.

“I thought it was really cool,” she said.

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Research

Immunotherapy Patient Celebrates One Year of Remission

by Rebecca Bernot, St. Baldrick's Foundation
August 11, 2014

When a 23-year-old leukemia patient ran out of treatment options, she joined an immunotherapy clinical trial supported by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. You can help fund the research that saved her life. Get involved.

Lynsie Conradi after T cell immunotherapy treatment

Lynsie after undergoing the immunotherapy treatment that saved her life.

When Lynsie Conradi’s leukemia relapsed for the third time, her doctors told her she had, at best, six months to live.

It was hardly the news the 23-year-old expected to hear after having spent so much of the last eight years fighting for her life.

Lynsie had been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, when she was 15. She fought it into remission twice. But by the third time it came around, her doctors told her it had become resistant to chemotherapy.

The standard treatment for relapsed ALL involves a bone marrow transplant, but Lynsie would have to be in remission for them to do the transplant. It seemed her only option was to hope for a miracle.

That is, until her doctors told her about a new phase 1 immunotherapy clinical trial funded in part by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

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News

The Dream Team’s First Year

by Becky C. Weaver, Chief Mission Officer, St. Baldrick's Foundation
August 1, 2014

Pediatric Cancer Dream Team
Last week I was part of the first annual review of the Stand Up to Cancer – St. Baldrick’s Pediatric Cancer Dream Team.

The review took place at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and reporting for the Dream Team were co-leaders Dr. John M. Maris, director of the Center for Childhood Cancer Research at CHOP, and Dr. Crystal Mackall, chief of the Pediatric Oncology Branch of the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The review panel included representatives from Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C), our partner in making this $14.5 million grant; the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR); and of course St. Baldrick’s.

I am excited to report that this Dream Team seems to be making more rapid progress than most. This is partly due to the fact that researchers in childhood cancer are more accustomed to working with colleagues from multiple institutions than are researchers in the adult oncology world.

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