The St. Baldrick’s Foundation has announced its 2018 Infrastructure Grant recipients. In total, the grants amount to more than $1.7 million and will be spread across 29 US-based institutions.
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.
BREAKING NEWS: An innovative therapeutic tool developed by Dr. Friedman has proven to be safe in kids with high-grade gliomas, according to recently released clinical trial findings. Crafted from the herpes virus that causes cold sores, the genetically modified virus has already shown promise in killing cancer cells and stimulating the immune system to attack the brain tumor – with one patient still showing progress more than a year after treatment! In the next phase of research, Dr. Friedman will study how safe the viral tool is when combined with one low dose of radiation, which is expected to boost the immune system and help the virus replicate.
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.
1. Each year, more children diagnosed with cancer will be cured, joining the growing population of long-term childhood cancer survivors.
Thanks to advances in chemotherapy, radiation and surgical techniques, more children and adolescents are being cured of cancer every year. Today, there are over 420,000 survivors of childhood cancer in the United States, representing approximately 1 in 750 young adults, and that number is expected to exceed 500,000 by the year 2020.
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.
Jason Yustein, M.D., Ph.D., a St. Baldrick’s Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, explains Ewing sarcoma symptoms, treatment options, and research opportunities.
What is Ewing sarcoma?
Ewing sarcoma is a type of childhood cancer that is most frequently found in children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 20 years old.
Ewing sarcoma — the second most common bone cancer after osteosarcoma — often originates in the long, large bones of the body, including the hip, thigh, shin, chest, and arm bones.
It is said that to defeat an enemy, you must know them — and that’s exactly what St. Baldrick’s Scholar Dr. Grzegorz Nalepa is doing. The enemy? Childhood cancer. His weapon? Genomics — the study of all the genes within an organism, like a human child with cancer for instance. Who is winning? Read on to find out. (Hint, hint…it’s the good guy.)
St. Baldrick’s Scholar Dr. Grzegorz Nalepa amuses a young patient by making her the doctor, instead of him.
For St. Baldrick’s Scholar Dr. Grzegorz Nalepa, childhood cancer treatment can’t be one-size-fits-all. To be successful, it needs to be personal.
That’s why this physician-scientist studies what makes everyone unique, including kids with cancer – genes.
With support from St. Baldrick’s and a deep passion for the field of genomics, Dr. Nalepa is studying how the genetic changes, or mutations, present in kids with leukemia can be exploited to create targeted therapies against that cancer, with few side effects.
St. Baldrick’s Scholar Dr. David Barrett gives us an inside look at immunotherapy, and we meet the first pediatric patient to ever receive this new cancer treatment.
Emily Whitehead, the first pediatric patient to be treated with immunotherapy, 18 months post-treatment and starting third grade.
For most of us, our immune systems fight off disease every day. A healthy immune system can even fight off life-threatening diseases like cancer. And when we do get sick, a healthy immune system attacks sickness and help us get back to feeling like ourselves again.
It is a different story for kids with cancer. A child with cancer has a suppressed immune system. It’s as if a blindfold has been pulled down, and the body is unable to target invasive cells. You might say the immune system is asleep.
What if doctors could wake up a sleeping immune system?
Where is our very first St. Baldrick’s Fellow now? Still in the lab, that’s where! Meet Dr. Sharon Singh, the physician-scientist who was given the inaugural St. Baldrick’s Fellow Award in 2005. What does that monetary vote of confidence do for a new researcher and for the childhood cancer research field? It’s been 12 years and the results are in – read on to find out.
Dr. Sharon Singh currently works as a clinician, researcher and assistant professor with the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine.
At the heart of it, Dr. Sharon Singh is a problem solver and for the last decade, the pediatric hematologist-oncologist has been working on the problem of childhood cancer. But she knows that the big problem of kids’ cancer can’t be solved only at the bedside of a patient – problem solvers like her need to be in the lab too.
And that is exactly what Dr. Singh is doing, thanks to a St. Baldrick’s grant given more than 10 years ago.
What is neuroblastoma?
Neuroblastoma is a type of childhood cancer that develops in nerve tissue outside of the central nervous system. It usually begins in the adrenal gland on top of the kidney, but it can be found anywhere along the spine.
Diagnosed with a rare sarcoma when he was a toddler, Honored Kid Alan passed away five years ago. With his chubby-cheeked grin and bright personality, the 2014 St. Baldrick’s Ambassador has inspired all of us — and as his mom writes in this blog, Alan’s impact continues to be felt in a big, brilliant way. Read on to learn how…
Dr. Nino Rainusso meets with Alan’s family, plus Hilly the bear, a stuffed panda purchased in Washington D.C. to represent Alan’s lost opportunities.
Four years ago, we established a Hero Fund with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to raise money for sarcoma research in Alan’s memory. Last July we were thrilled to share that the fundraising we had done through Alan’s Sarcoma Research Fund had given us the opportunity to name a grant.
Dr. Nino Rainusso of Baylor College of Medicine at Texas Children’s Hospital would be named the Alan’s Sarcoma Research Fund St. Baldrick’s Scholar for his work in identifying and examining the most difficult-to-treat cancer cells from patients at Texas Children’s.
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