Pediatric Cancer Dream Team

The first dream team of its kind, this four-year, $14.5 million grant sets out to cure many of the most hard-to-treat childhood cancers.

In the last 20 years, cure rates for children with cancer have plateaued, and many forms of childhood cancers have seen little to no improvements. Current therapies lead to life-long effects such as learning disabilities, heart disease, secondary cancers, and more.

We need new, safer therapies to help kids survive and thrive.

Enter the St. Baldrick’s Foundation Stand Up 2 Cancer Dream Team.

The Dream Team


  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto
  • National Cancer Institute
  • Seattle Children’s Hospital
  • Stanford University
  • Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Wisconsin
The Goal

Develop new, targeted therapies for not just one, but many of the most difficult to cure childhood cancers, including:

This is big science. They’re asking us to think outside the box, to do things that we can’t do with any of the standard funding mechanisms that are available.

—Dr. Crystal Mackall, Dream Team Co-Lead

The Strategy

Bring together two scientific areas that have been evolving on parallel tracks:


the study of genes and their functions


using the body’s own immune system to attack cancer

Up until now

Genomic investigators have made biological discoveries of the most aggressive childhood cancers, but have not yet revolutionized therapies.

Immunotherapy investigators have created therapies that harness the body’s own immune system to eradicate cancer, but are available for only a few disease types and in very few institutions.

Imagine the possibilities when these areas of research are joined together.

There’s no way this work would happen without something like St. Baldrick’s and Stand Up to Cancer’s Dream Team initiative. I’m very optimistic that this sort of thinking will lead to very important new realities for children with cancer.

—Dr. John Maris, Dream Team Co-Lead

The Plan

From July 2013 to June 2017, the Dream Team will focus on:

Researchers will first use genomics to discover the most strategic targets the immune system should attack, to kill cancer cells and leave healthy cells alone.

Once those targets are discovered, the team will develop the weapons the immune system can use to attack them.

To test these new therapies and make them available to kids everywhere, the team will conduct clinical trials involving multiple institutions across North America.

We’re setting out to revolutionize childhood cancer treatment.
Follow the journey of the Dream Team.