The Challenge

Children fighting pediatric cancers need treatments that have the potential to cure them. When current treatment options such as chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy fail, there is an unacceptably low chance of survival.


SKC is interested in experimental therapies with innovative approaches that push the boundaries of what is possible and creatively apply everything that is known about a particular form of childhood cancer to bring the maximum benefit to children.  Radical changes are required to successfully deal with the most fatal childhood cancers.

The Challenges of Traditional Pediatric Cancer Research:

Today, despite significant improvements in outcomes for some pediatric cancers, like acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the survival rate upon relapse for some childhood cancers remains near 0%. The system currently serving these children is ineffective. While there are many factors, several of the key reasons are:

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    The bar is set too low for what success means.

    In today’s clinical research, potential treatments are often advanced from one phase to another, even when little or no benefit to impacting disease is demonstrated.

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    Most clinical research is low risk/low reward.

    Significant improvements in survivorship will only come through research that utilizes novel agents, approaches and targets that are currently under-investigated in children.

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    A greater focus needs to be placed on translating pre-clinical data into clinical trials.

    Greater than 95% of all published research on pediatric cancers is pre-clinical.

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    The most cutting-edge research can take years to reach children.

    The latest and most innovative research is prioritized for adults.

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    Research funding is not used effectively.

    Grants are typically lump-sum awards without performance incentives to promote accountability and effective management of the clinical study or research program.

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    Researchers and institutions are not structured to consider all avenues of progress to improve survival.

    The current structure of scientific research encourages competition, redundancy, and demonstrates a lack of transparency and cooperation.

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    Survivors of pediatric cancers are subject to long-term side effects.

    After lengthy regimens of traditional treatments, children are at increased risk of secondary cancers, cardiovascular issues, and other debilitating problems.

Research Advocacy


Identifying breakthroughs and filling gaps in the treatment landscape


Directing research to the areas of greatest need.


Funding trials that benefit children over research for research sake.


Developing streamlined clinical trials that quickly advance promising options.

To have a significant impact on survival, we must identify gaps in the system and push for better clinical trials with curative intent. SKC's mission, vision, strategy and measurable goals result in accountability for working toward better survival.

Nonprofits play a vital role in helping to identify current unmet needs and finding, prioritizing and advancing breakthrough research to match those needs quickly.

SKC applies a comprehensive understanding of the research landscape to accomplish its mission. This includes a systems analysis approach to track all the globally connected stakeholders: academic research, industry, regulators, nonprofit landscape, and parent community.

Research advocacy helps set the right balance between the goals of researchers and the specific clinical needs of children with cancer. Bridging these two elements is the heart of research advocacy.

"Through research advocacy, we can rapidly increase the number of research projects which have high potential for significant impact. Additionally, funders can make better use of their philanthropic dollars by investing in projects that have the highest potential to benefit children."

Scott Kennedy, co-founder, Solving Kids' Cancer

"Research advocates play a vital role in shaping NCI’s work. They challenge us, and ensure that we never lose sight of what we are here to do – which is to improve patient outcomes by advancing cancer research. We can’t do this without the unique perspectives research advocates bring."

Dr. Doug Lowy, NCI Deputy Director

SKC Presence in the Research Landscape

Over the past decade, Solving Kids’ Cancer has earned a seat at the table among some of the most inspiring researchers and other like-minded organizations that are making significant impact in the pediatric cancer research landscape.

As a member of the NCI’s Pediatric Central Institutional Review Board, SKC has a voice in every clinical trial that is reviewed by the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) which is the world’s largest organization devoted exclusively to childhood cancer research with more than 200 participating hospitals.

SKC participates in consortiums, coalitions, and committees worldwide. 
FDA Patient Representative and FDA Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (2010 - present)
NANT Advisory Council, member and chair (2010-present)
Coalition Against Childhood Cancer (CAC2), Founding Member and Board Member (2012-present)
Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer, member, (2013-present)
AACR Pediatric Cancer Working Group Steering Committee (2015-present)
National Cancer Institute, Pediatric Central Institutional Review Board (2015-present)
SKC has been invited to present at conferences and meetings around the world.
Children’s Oncology Group, Educational Presenter (2010-2012)
American Association for Hemotology/Oncology Nurses, Educational Presenter (2011)
Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation, Presenter (2010-2012) 
Neuroblastoma Children's Cancer Alliance, Presenter, England (2011-2015)
The International Society for Pediatric Oncology, Presenter (2011)
FDA Advisory Committee, FDA (2011)
Bristol-Meyers Squibb Advocate Council meeting, Presenter (2015)
NCI Genomics Workshop, Advocate, Embryonal tumor panel member (2015)
Advances in Neuroblastoma Research Association, Presenter, Australia (2016)
AACR Pediatric Cancer Predisposition Workshop, Boston (2016)
CAC2 Research Conference, Organizing Committee, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY (2016)
AACR Annual meeting, Pediatric Cancer Drug Development, Panel Member, New Orleans (2016) International Society of Pediatric Oncology, Poster Session Presenter, Washington, DC (2017)

Our Progress

Solving Kids' Cancer advocates for systemic improvements in the research enterprise and initiates novel clinical trials for children battling the deadliest childhood cancers.  Experts agree that cures will come through multimodal combinations and approaches. SKC supports innovative therapies with strong rationale for improved outcomes for children who need it the most. 

Our Impact

  • SKC has funded 38 pediatric cancer research projects, 14 studies are currently enrolling or due to open in 2020.
  • 28 of these projects represent clinical trials accruing hundreds of children at cancer centers in 5 countries.

  • SKC has supported 11 preclinical investigative projects, 3 of these, based on findings, led to clinical trials. 

  • SKC has initiated 3 transatlantic clinical trials, with two more in the planning, expanding access to children in UK and Europe.

  • SKC has collaboratively funded 12 projects with 19 charity partners 

  • SKC has supported ground-breaking clinical trials testing four different oncolytic viruses, dendritic cell and whole tumor vaccines, antibodies in combination with other agents and cellular therapies, targeted small molecules, emerging technologies such as high-intensity focused ultrasound, and convection-enhanced delivery, T cell CARs, and CTLs, next-generation precision medicine, and haplo-identical stem cell transplant.
  • SKC has issued 5 requests for proposals with plans to issue 2 more in 2020 to address unmet needs in metastatic sarcomas and induction therapies for neuroblastoma.

SKC Research Project Portfolio