Category Archives: Medical/Research

$100,000 donated to support REST study

Alex’s Army is incredibly pleased and humbled to have presented a check to Dr. Jeffrey Dome, MD, PhD, in the amount of $100,000.00 to Children’s National on Thursday, Dec. 29th, 2016.

Dr. Dome is the chief of the Division of Oncology and the Division of Hematology and is also the chair of the Renal Tumor Committee for the Children’s Oncology Group (COG). He oversees clinical trials for Wilms tumors and other childhood kidney cancers in more than 200 children’s hospitals. He holds the Thomas Willson & Lenore Williams McKnew Professorship in Pediatric Oncology and has authored more than 30 articles and textbook chapters on pediatric kidney tumors.

Funding from this grant will support the REST study which is an immunotherapy trial for patients with high-risk solid tumors including Ewing sarcoma, Wilms tumor, Neuroblastoma, Rhabdomyosarcoma, Soft tissue sarcomas, Osteosarcoma, and Adenocarcinoma. The idea behind the study is to harvest T-cells from patients, grow them in a lab, and “train” the cells to target the WT1 protein (and two other proteins called survivin and PRAME). Once the cells are “trained” to target these proteins, they are given back to the patient in hopes of better fighting off the cancerous cells. An impact report will be provided for updates on the study progress.

Witnessing firsthand the harsh effects of chemotherapies on our children, we have great interest in helping to fund less toxic treatments that will reduce long term side effects for pediatric patients. This type of immunotherapy trial was a perfect fit to the type of research Alex’s Army was hoping to support with our 2016 research funding. Our Board voted unanimously on funding this trial and on Thursday members of Alex’s Army traveled to DC on Thursday to meet with Dr. Dome and his team.

This donation was made in memory and honor of our sweet Alex – and too many other children who have had to leave us too soon. This check was ONLY possible because of the ARMY of supporters who this past year have prayed, sponsored, donated, and come alongside our organization to make a difference for children and families impacted by various childhood cancers. We thank everyone who helped make this possible truly from the bottom of our hearts. While this trial came too late for our sweet Alex, who as many of you know passed away in June of this year, we are hopeful and will be prayerful that this treatment will bring researchers a few steps closer to finding cures and that the patients who have the opportunity to enroll in this study will find healing.

It takes an ARMY to fight childhood cancers and TOGETHER we are Alex’s Army!

Alex’s Army is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to raise awareness to the lack of funding for childhood cancers, to provide funding to further research with a focus on Wilms Tumor, and to provide support for the childhood cancer community through faith, hope, and love.

New Data Shows a Child Is Diagnosed With Cancer Every 2 Minutes

According to new research done by WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), about 215,000 children worldwide — from infants to 14-year-olds — are newly diagnosed with childhood cancer each year.

That’s a big jump from their last study, which showed about 165,000 new cases of childhood cancer each year.

On top of that, the new study found that 85,000 adolescents — from 15-year-olds to 19-year-olds — are being diagnosed each year, bringing the overall incidence of childhood cancer to 300,000 kids per year.

But what do these new numbers really mean?

They mean that every two minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer.

They mean that childhood cancer research — and more funding for it — is more crucial than ever before.

Read more…

Finding A Cure Wouldn’t Mean We’ve Defeated Cancer

When President Barack Obama announced the $1 billion moonshot initiative in February, he appointed Vice President Joe Biden, whose 46-year-old son Beau died of brain cancer last year, to be the project’s steward.

“Right now, only 5 percent of cancer patients in the U.S. end up in a clinical trial,” Biden wrote in Medium in January. “The science, data, and research results are trapped in silos, preventing faster progress and greater reach to patients. It’s not just about developing game-changing treatments  —  it’s about delivering them to those who need them.”

Wednesday’s National Cancer Moonshot Summit, which harkens back to Richard Nixon’s 1971 “war on cancer,” is a national day of action led by Biden to crowdsource strategies for accelerating cancer-curing research from more than 350 scientists, oncologists, data and tech experts, patients, families and advocates across the country.

While the summit is a first step toward the moonshot’s expressed goal of doubling the current rate of progress toward a cure for cancer, there has been noticeably little discussion among politicians, advocacy groups and other stakeholders of what curing cancer actually means.

A spokeswoman for Biden said that the summit incorporated a discussion on survivorship, but declined to comment on the record about specific ways the moonshot would address the issue.

Critics called the initiative oversimplified, and emphasized that because cancer is many diseases, not just one, it’s unrealistic to push for a single cure. Others pushed back on the initiative’s meager budget.

“Let’s be honest,” Ezekiel Emanuel, oncologist and chair of the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, told STAT. “There’s not that much money in the moonshot. I just don’t think it is going to have that big an impact.”

Later in January, the vice president added, “I said I believe that we need an absolute national commitment to end cancer as we know,” he said. “I’m not naive, I didn’t think we could ‘end cancer.’ I’m not looking for a silver bullet. There is none.”

Survival is also more complicated than being cancer-free, a concern that’s rarely included in well-meaning, but oversimplified political initiatives and awareness months. Survivors’ stories, particularly those of childhood survivors who have had the longest tenure with cancer and its side effects, could help broaden the focus of the moonshot aims by highlighting their experiences of what life after cancer is like.

Read full article (huffingtonpost)

Children’s cancer research is often ignored. Make it a ‘moonshot’ priority

Cancer is the leading disease-related cause of death in children in the United States. Yet pediatric cancer is often left behind when it comes to funding research and developing new drugs. Not only does this give short shrift to children with cancer, but it also threatens to rob us of advances that could benefit cancer patients of all ages.

That’s what I and fellow members of the Coalition for Pediatric Medical Research told the staff of Vice President Joe Biden, who is leading the cancer “moonshot.” We recently met in Biden’s Washington office to make the case that childhood cancer must be represented as the government considers ways to propel cancer research.

Six decades ago, the first major breakthrough in the treatment of cancer came when Dr. Sidney Farber used an experimental drug to treat leukemia in children. Some went into remission — a medical first. Chemotherapy was born, revolutionizing the care of both children and adults with cancer.

Since then, overall cure rates for childhood cancers have risen to 80 percent. Some pediatric cancers post cure rates of 90 percent, while others remain difficult or nearly impossible to cure. At the same time, a majority of childhood cancer survivors experience harmful, lifelong complications of the treatments that saved them. Such late effects can be far more devastating to the survivor diagnosed at age 5 than the survivor diagnosed at age 65.

Read more…

Sean Parker Donates $250 Million to Launch Cancer Immunotherapy Institute

Silicon Valley billionaire Sean Parker will donate $250 million to launch a new institute aimed at developing more effective cancer treatments by fostering collaboration among leading researchers in the field.

“Any breakthrough made at one center is immediately available to another center without any kind of IP (intellectual property) entanglements or bureaucracy,” Parker, the co-founder of music-sharing website Napster and the first president of Facebook, told Reuters in an interview.

The new Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy will focus on the emerging field of cancer immunotherapy, which harnesses the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells.

Read Full Article

President Obama Puts Joe Biden in Charge of Curing Cancer

President Obama announced Tuesday in his final State of the Union that Vice President Joe Biden would spearhead an initiative to cure cancer.

“Last year, Vice President Biden said that with a new moonshot, America can cure cancer,” Obama said, before noting that Biden has worked with Congress to add resources for the National Institutes of Health. “Tonight, I’m announcing a new national effort to get it done. And because he’s gone to the mat for all of us, on so many issues over the past forty years, I’m putting Joe in charge of Mission Control. For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the family we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all.”

This comment got enormous applause, as the President turned to Biden and went off script, saying, “What do you say, Joe?” Biden gave him a thumbs up, to more applause. “Let’s make it happen,” President Obama said.

Vice President Biden lost his son, Beau Biden, 46, to brain cancer in 2015.

Original Article

Children’s Cancer Is Unprofitable and Ignored

An estimated 2,000 children die of cancer each year, and the overall incidence of childhood cancer has been slowly increasing since 1975. Despite significant advances against certain pediatric cancers, including acute lymphoblastic leukemia, there are still some types of cancer for which there are few or no effective treatments. As John London found out, new drug development in the field is slow, often lagging way behind adult treatments, and few compounds are designed specifically for children. “I was on my own, as many parents are,” London says. “The medical community had no interest.”

That is in large part due to a practical reason: Childhood cancers make up less than 1 percent of all cancers diagnosed each year, according to the American Cancer Society. That 1 percent is not much of a market for drugmakers, who rack up an estimated $1.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs while bringing a novel drug to market. They would never recoup that treating the 700 children diagnosed with neuroblastoma annually, or the 100 diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a deadly brain tumor.

“The big elephant in the room is the cost of this type of research,” says Raphaël Rousseau, director of pediatric oncology drug development at pharmaceutical giant Roche. Combined with the small potential market, that’s led very few pharmaceutical companies to invest in developing drugs for pediatric cancer. Merck has one ongoing pediatric oncology trial. Pfizer is testing preclinical therapies only. Novartis leads the pack, with seven drugs in clinical trials for children’s cancer.

Where Big Pharma is absent, government has stepped in. Most pediatric clinical trials are operated by the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Children’s Oncology Group (COG), which runs approximately 40 to 50 therapeutic trials across the country at any one time, according to Peter Adamson, chairman of the organization and a pediatric oncologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Yet even with federal funding, pediatric cancer research receives only a fraction of the money that adult cancer research gets, and it’s decreasing. In 2013, the NCI invested $185.1 million from a $4.79 billion budget in pediatric cancer research, the lowest amount since 2009.

“The options we have now to be explored are really blossoming, but the funds available to do the studies that need to be done are shrinking,” says Richard O’Reilly, chairman of pediatric oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, in Manhattan. ‘We don’t want future generations to look back on this time and ask, ‘What the hell were they doing?’”

Read more…

Tim Duncan donates $247,000 to fund ground-breaking San Antonio Cancer Genome Research Project

San Antonio Spur, Tim Duncan, through the Tim Duncan Foundation and Blackjack Speed Shop, has made a landmark donation of $247,000 to the San Antonio 1000 Cancer Genome Project, a Texas not-for-profit 501 (c) (3), Open Science research project launched in 2012 by START. Based in San Antonio, START’s mission is to accelerate the development of new anticancer drugs through Phase I research. With four clinic sites on three continents (the US, Spain and China), START is the largest provider of Phase I testing and treatment for patients with advanced cancer. START’s Phase I researchers can uniquely claim direct, hands-on involvement with the clinical development of 18 FDA approved anti-cancer drugs that are now in use by oncologists around the world.

The San Antonio 1000 Cancer Genome Project is a one-of-a-kind cancer genome research project that has theunprecedented support of more than 200 surgeons, oncologists, and cancer researchers from a broad spectrum of affiliations. This unparalleled collaboration is enabling researchers to step beyond the institutional barriers that currently fragment and piecemeal cancer research, and makes the San Antonio 1000 Cancer Genome Project the largest community-wide undertaking of its kind.

Through the support and involvement of these participating surgeons, START researchers are collecting fresh tumor tissue from 1000 patients with the 10 most common cancers in San Antonio. The project then aims to perform whole genome sequencing on both the cancerous and normal tissue from each patient. Then, for the first time anywhere, researchers will link this genetic information to the patient’s clinical outcomes. Most significantly, all data will be made available publicly at no cost to researchers worldwide. The project’s promise to make all data freely available is built on the belief that no single investigator or institution has all of the answers and encourages the involvement of outsiders who might bring fresh ideas to the urgent and complex problem of gene abnormalities and cancer.

Like most people, Tim Duncan has been touched personally by cancer, and hopes for a cure for cancer in his lifetime. Duncan says he was drawn to the San Antonio 1000 Cancer Genome Project, “because the information collected will ultimately be shared.”

“The idea that a group of cancer researchers were willing to set aside egos, to make the information freely available and work strictly for the greater good of curing cancer was exactly the type of cancer project I was willing to support,” Duncan said.

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Lymphoseek Approved for All Solid-Tumor Cancers

Approval of the Lymphoseek system for detecting sentinel lymph nodes has been extended to cover all solid-tumor cancers, its manufacturer said Wednesday.

The FDA is also permitting the radiolabeled tracer system to also now be used with or without lymphoscintigraphy, according to Navidea Biopharmaceuticals.

Previously, Lymphoseek had been approved in conjunction with melanomas, breast cancers, and head and neck tumors.

The product uses a technetium-99 labeled tracer to identify lymph nodes serving areas near primary tumors, allowing oncologists to select for excision and analysis those nodes most likely to harbor emigrating cancer cells. The tracer is called tilmanocept, and it binds to CD206 receptors in lymph nodes.

Navidea said the expanded approval was based on data collected in the company’s melanoma, breast cancer, and head-and-neck cancer trials. “An integrated analysis of data from all three studies showed positive diagnostic performance of Lymphoseek across the solid tumor types studied,” the firm said in announcing the new approval.

The FDA has requested a postmarketing study to be performed in pediatric cancer patients, to be completed by 2018, the firm added.

Source

Fighting Childhood Cancer Until There's a Cure!