Researchers at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto were among the first to identify and characterize neuroblastoma cancer stem cells, which are believed to be responsible for relapse. Researchers isolated these unique cancer cells from patients, and screened hundreds of drugs against them.

Project Title: Neuroblastoma Drug Discovery and Development Program
Researcher: David Kaplan, PhD
Institution: Hospital for Sick Children
Study Type: Preclinical
Status: Completed

Researchers at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto were among the first to identify and characterize neuroblastoma cancer stem cells, which are believed to be responsible for relapse. Researchers isolated these unique cancer cells from patients, and screened hundreds of drugs against them. The best drug candidates were tested in animal models with tumors derived of the same cells and the most promising agents to come out of these studies were proposed for testing in children. As a result, a drug called rapamycin (sirolimus) was selected for a phase I clinical trial at many cancer centers in the North America.