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SKC Partners To Launch Innovative Experimental Trial For Children With Solid Tumors

May 01, 2009

Solving Kids’ Cancer partners with another like-minded charity (Magic Water) to launch an innovative pilot study for children’s cancer.

In partnership with the University of Wisconsin, the pilot study was launched in May, 2009 with the goal to treat 10-12 children in order to determine whether this approach is effective in achieving clinical responses, and hopefully cures, for children who have failed conventional therapies.

The research that contributed to the creation of the pilot study builds upon a paper published in Science, demonstrating that leukemia patients undergoing T cell depleted haploidentical stem cell transplants (i.e. parent is the donor), had a significantly better survival and a very low relapse risk if the donors’ natural killer (NK) were able to be activated in the patients’ body. Presumably, the activated NK cells were able to recognize and destroy leukemia cells that persisted in the patients’ body after the transplant.  After these results were confirmed by several groups, Dr. Ken DeSantes (University of Wisconsin) created a protocol exploring this approach for children with neuroblastoma and other solid tumors. Dr. DeSantes and team are taking this idea one step further by developing the ability to select additional NK cells from the donor (using immunomagnetic beads) and infuse these cells into the patient at various time points post-transplant.
“We believe these additional NK cells may be quite important in helping to destroy bulky tumors” said Dr. DeSantes. .  In addition, the researchers are  performing specialized testing on the parents’ blood (when both parents are available) to determine which parents’ immune system might be better equipped to destroy their childs’ cancer (by evaluating certain markers on the surface of their NK cells).

The pilot study is a great example of collaboration between like-minded charities and a researcher who is attempting to create a brand-new therapeutic modality for these difficult-to-treat children’s cancers. We look forward to reporting the progress of this important new therapeutic option for children.