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Childhood Cancer Awareness Month: 2019 Immunotherapy Research Update

September 24, 2019

Several decades ago, fewer than one in every ten children diagnosed with cancer survived long term. Now, almost 80% survive thanks to scientific research and clinical trials. However, this survival comes at a cost as these treatments often cause damaging and life-long side effects. This Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we look at a different future where young patients are treated not only more effectively, but also in ways that give them long, full, and healthy lives.

Just this month, Cancer Research Institute awarded an impact grant for pre-clinical work on glioblastoma in both children and adults. This extensive, three-year review and analysis of glioblastoma patient data will inform immunotherapy protocols to ensure the best research and treatment in future. With each new development from the lab to the clinic, we come closer to unlocking an answer to cancer.

Growing Up with Cancer

In 2006, Chris and Denise learned their two-year-old son, Cole, had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Last year, he was one of the first pediatric patients at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Boston Children’s Hospital to receive CAR T cell therapy. We spoke to Cole and Denise about a childhood in and out of hospitals, exploring treatment options, advocating for immunotherapy, and sharing their story.

READ INTERVIEW WITH COLE AND DENISE

CHILDHOOD CANCER TREATMENT AND RESEARCH NEWS

We spoke with Susanne Baumeister, M.D., a pediatric oncologist at Boston Children's Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, about recent developments in research and treatment. She discusses distinct challenges in childhood cancer, ongoing clinical trials, and why new cell therapies show promise for this set of diseases.

READ INTERVIEW WITH DR. SUSANNE BAUMEISTER

What's Next in CAR T Cell Therapy?

In a new webinar for patients and caregivers, Michel Sadelain, M.D., Ph.D., of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, discusses CAR T cell immunotherapy, an approach he helped pioneer. By taking patients’ own immune cells and equipping them with chimeric antigen receptors that enhance their ability to target and eliminate cancer cells, CAR T cells have already provided immense benefits for children with leukemia and lymphoma.

WATCH CAR T CELL THERAPY WEBINAR

READ CAR T CELL THERAPY WEBINAR RECAP

Childhood Cancer Scientist Spotlight

Joseph K. Cheng, Ph.D., at Seattle Children's Research Institute aims to develop “smart” CAR T cell immunotherapies that are activated only in the solid tumor when they encounter key tumor targets, so that they don’t accidentally attack healthy cells. It will help provide a foundation for future cell therapy designs that can improve the safety and effectiveness of CAR T cell immunotherapies.

LEARN MORE ABOUT DR. CHENG'S RESEARCH

Immunotherapy for Childhood Cancer
Information Updated

There are currently four approved immunotherapy options for childhood cancer and many more clinical trials, especially for rare childhood cancers. Discover the different proteins, pathways, and platforms that scientists and physicians are pursuing to develop new cancer treatments for children.

VIEW IMMUNOTHERAPY FOR CHILDHOOD CANCER WEBPAGE

Find a Cancer Clinical Trial

So many children survive cancer today thanks to the brave parents and children who enrolled in clinical trials. Our Cancer Immunotherapy Clinical Trial Finder can aid you in finding immunotherapy clinical trial options for childhood cancers. Understand the basics of clinical trials, what things to consider about enrolling, access cutting-edge treatments, and help the next generation of doctors and patients.

Find a cancer immunotherapy clinical trial

Support Childhood Cancer Research

Cancer Research Institute is proud to support some of the most groundbreaking work in immunotherapy for childhood cancer. For example, Carl H. June, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania, has led clinical trials that have successfully treated young patients with CAR T cells, including Emily Whitehead, who overcame her leukemia and has been cancer-free for over seven years now. This Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, help make a future immune to cancer for every child.

Donate childhood cancer research

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*Immunotherapy results may vary from patient to patient.

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