A note from Brent Dethlefs, Executive Director, Research Institute at CHOC Childrens:
The generous gift from “Give Blood, Play Hockey” continues to support research nurse coordinators who last year enrolled 95 patients on open, active Children’s Oncology Group (COG) studies at CHOC, including 5-patients on Phase I research studies which break ground with new treatments for childhood cancer. Our nurse coordinators, in part supported by “Give Blood, Play Hockey”, are currently managing about 100-open active oncology research protocols in an effort to ensure that every child that walks through CHOC’s doors has access to cutting edge treatment protocols specific to their diagnosis. At any given time, through most of last fiscal year, our oncology research nurse coordinators were providing overall treatment support for over 260 active patients and over 300 patients in long – term follow-up.
“Give Blood, Play Hockey” supports the role of our clinical research coordinators in preparing and maintaining treatment roadmaps for all of our children with cancer – those that are on study protocols and those for whom there is not an established protocol – so that all of our children are afforded team-centered, comprehensive care in line with the most advanced treatment algorithms available; ensuring continuity of the highest standard of care for all of our children diagnosed with cancer.
Advances in genomic sequencing are playing an ever increasing role in informing diagnosis and treatment decisions for children and adults with cancer. Funding from “Give Blood, Play Hockey” is in part supporting a research collaboration between CHOC Children’s and UC Irvine which aims to genetically modify tumor cells to actively engage the body’s immune system in fighting solid tumors like neuroblastoma. The researchers are hoping to use this approach along with genomic sequencing data from individual cancer patients to develop individualized tumor cell vaccines that could be used to prevent recurrent cancer in patients who have recovered from their initial diagnosis.
Over the coming year, “Give Blood, Play Hockey” support will continue to fund the above two areas as well as to advance a “tissue scaffolding” technology developed at CHOC that could be made commercially available to screen drugs against patient specific cancers. The technology is has been patented by CHOC but needs more study to determine its commercial viability and most importantly, its ability to better determine effective treatment strategies for treatment of children and adults with malignant, solid tumors.
Heart-felt thanks to “Give Blood, Play Hockey” for their continuing support of these efforts to make a positive difference in the lives of our children and families fighting cancer at CHOC – and around the world.