Along with the start of school and settling into new routines, September marks Childhood Cancer Awareness Month: a special time to support cancer research and care for patients and families impacted by the disease. Fittingly, this week’s roundup of research news highlights the remarkable impact our oncologists have made for children with cancer around the world. And on top of that, we highlight new findings that challenge the traditional notion of the teen years as a reckless time of risky behavior.
CHOP Named One of 20 Most Innovative in Parents Magazine
Parents magazine named CHOP one of 20 most innovative children’s hospitals in a press release issued this week and an article appearing online and in the publication’s October issue. Recognizing our breakthrough advances in cancer research, Parents placed the spotlight on chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, the pioneering treatment for aggressive blood cancers developed by a CHOP team led by Stephan Grupp, MD, PhD, director of the Cancer Immunotherapy Program, in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and Novartis. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration approved the game-changing personalized treatment, which engineers a patient’s own T-cells to fight cancer cells, under the name Kymriah.
“The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia pioneered a very effective treatment for leukemia that doesn't respond to standard therapy and helped other hospitals implement it,” the publication stated in their press release. According to Parents, the selection of the 20 most innovative children’s hospitals was based on a comprehensive survey sent to members of the Children’s Hospital Association. The resulting list identifies hospitals who have a proven track record for medical innovation, utilize the latest technologies, and make an effort to share its breakthroughs with other pediatric centers.
Read more in the press release.
European Commission Approves Kymriah for Patients in Europe
In more celebratory CAR T-cell therapy news, the European Commission (EC) announced their approval of Kymriah last week — a move that may change the outcomes for patients with aggressive blood cancers across Europe. The EC has approved Kymriah for the treatment of pediatric and young adults up to 25 years old who have B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) that is refractory, in relapse post-transplant, or in second or later relapse, as well as for the treatment of adults with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) after two or more lines of systemic therapy. The EC based their approval on two global, multi-center Phase II trials, ELIANA and JULIET, which were conducted in countries worldwide, including Europe and the U.S., and sponsored by Novartis.
“To date, our unrivaled immunotherapy program has now treated more than 250 patients with this innovative therapy, more than any other pediatric institution in the world,” said Stephen Hunger, MD, chief of the Division of Oncology and director of the Center for Childhood Cancer Research at CHOP in a press release. “Young cancer patients are in critical need of personalized cell therapies here in the U.S., and we’re delighted to now see Kymriah fill an unmet need abroad.”
Learn more about this landmark advance in the press release.
CHOP and Penn Study Finds Most Teens Avoid Impulsive Behavior
A new study challenges the traditional idea that the teen years are a universal time of brain imbalance, and the notion that adolescents lack impulse control because of delayed brain development. With a team from the University of Oregon and Penn’s Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC), two CHOP researchers, Hallam Hurt, MD, medical director of our Neonatal Follow-Up Program, and Laura Betancourt, PhD, of the Division of Neonatology, published the paper in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.
They report that only a subset of young people are at risk for problems associated with poor impulse control. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the researchers had analyzed six waves of data gathered from 387 adolescents ages 11 to 18 in Philadelphia. They found that children who struggle with weak cognitive control at a young age are the most at risk for trouble later in adulthood, following their engagement in risk-taking and impulsive adolescent activities.
Recently on Cornerstone, we took an inside look at the Kids First Data Resource Center (DRC), a multi-institute collaboration that aims to advance our knowledge of cancer and birth defects through large-scale sharing of genomic information.
Catch up on our headlines from our Aug. 24 edition of In the News:
- For the Love of Grace Donates $50,000 to CHOP
- New York Times Features Breakthrough Hemophilia B Research
- Fifth-Annual Penn-CHOP Microbiome Symposium Features Exciting Speaker Lineup
- Researchers Report Concerns About Physiological Baby Monitors
- Help Fuel Childhood Cancer Research at CHOP at Parkway Run
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