• Press Release
    • For Immediate Release

 

  • Media Contact:
    • Traci Shirk
    • 626.792.8247 ext. 250
    • traci@stbaldricks.org

Stand Up To Cancer, St. Baldrick’s Foundation Hail Green Light for CAR T Cell Therapy for Leukemia

Stand Up To Cancer and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation welcomed Wednesday the tentative approval by a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee of a revolutionary new therapy for a deadly form of leukemia, an approach whose development has also been supported by SU2C and St. Baldrick’s.

“When fully commercialized, this therapy will no doubt save the lives of many children and young adults who have had no other effective therapy for relapsed and refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL),” said John Maris, MD, a pediatric oncologist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who holds the Giulio D’Angio Chair in Neuroblastoma Research, and leader of the SU2C-St. Baldrick’s Pediatric Cancer Dream Team. “This is truly a turning point in the management of this disease.”

SU2C and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, have committed millions of dollars to the development of the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy, especially investigating why some patients with B-cell ALL relapse after receiving the immunocellular CD19 CAR T cell therapy, and how to overcome the problem of tumor cells escaping the therapy. The team also investigated the management of cytokine release syndrome (CRS), a potentially fatal side effect of the treatment.

“We are very proud that we are playing a key role in the overall development of CAR T cell therapy, and hope that the treatment will soon be available to children and young adults around the world,” said Crystal L. Mackall, MD, professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at Stanford University, associate director of Stanford Cancer Institute, and co-leader of the Dream Team.

“The St. Baldrick’s Foundation has been an early supporter of bringing new immunotherapy approaches to childhood cancer, and this Dream Team is the largest of these grants,” said Chief Mission Officer Becky Chapman Weaver. “Children are alive today because of this crucial research.”

An FDA advisory committee gave its support Wednesday to plans by the pharmaceutical company Novartis to commercialize the treatment. The FDA will take up the application in the near future.

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CONTACTS: Jane Rubinstein, Stand Up To Cancer, (646) 386-7969 jrubinstein@su2c.org | Traci Shirk, St. Baldrick’s Foundation, (626) 792-8247, ext. 250, traci@stbaldricks.org

About Stand Up To Cancer
Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) raises funds to accelerate the pace of research to get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now. SU2C, a division of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, was established in 2008 by film and media leaders who utilize the industry’s resources to engage the public in supporting a new, collaborative model of cancer research, and to increase awareness about cancer prevention as well as progress being made in the fight against the disease. As SU2C’s scientific partner, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and a Scientific Advisory Committee led by Nobel Laureate Phillip A. Sharp, PhD, conduct rigorous, competitive review processes to identify the best research proposals to recommend for funding, oversee grants administration, and provide expert review of research progress.

Current members of the SU2C Council of Founders and Advisors (CFA) include Katie Couric, Sherry Lansing, Lisa Paulsen, Rusty Robertson, Sue Schwartz, Pamela Oas Williams, Ellen Ziffren, and Kathleen Lobb. The late Laura Ziskin and the late Noreen Fraser are also co-founders. Sung Poblete, PhD, RN, has served as SU2C’s president and CEO since 2011.

For more information on Stand Up To Cancer, visit www.StandUpToCancer.org.

About St. Baldrick’s Foundation
As the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation believes that kids are special and deserve to be treated that way. St. Baldrick’s funds are granted to some of the most brilliant childhood cancer research experts who are working to find cures and better treatments for all childhood cancers. Kids need treatments as unique as they are – and that starts with funding research just for them. Join us at StBaldricks.org to help support the best cancer treatments for kids.