Since our founding, we have made significant progress in helping to solve childhood cancers.
In the past ten years alone, CURE has raised more than $32 million to fund cutting edge studies and provide critical support to thousands of childhood cancer patients and their families.
As a result of funding by CURE, novel therapies and drugs continue to be tested and new collaborations are being formed – all of which are driving us toward a cure.
Since CURE’s Founding
The money we started raising in 1975 soon began making an impact in the progress toward finding a cure. Some of the research initiatives CURE helped fund include:
Classification of major subtypes of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
First clinical trial of oral retinoic acid for therapy of childhood acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
First clinical trial of interleukin-2 (IL2) injections for treatment of pediatric solid tumors
First preclinical test of new-targeted agent (anti-CD22 immunotoxin) for treatment of CD22-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
Basic and preclinical research to develop other targeted agents for pediatric cancers
The past decade
We have become much more knowledgeable and much better at harnessing the power of a patient’s immune system to combat their disease. Phase 1 clinical trials are underway testing drugs to inhibit certain proteins which prevent the body’s immune system from reacting to tumor cells. The hope is that these antibodies will basically switch the immune system back on to fight cancer cells. CAR T-cell therapy is also being used effectively in some cases to engineer a child’s own T cells to attack cancer cells.
Genomics of cancer and personalized medicine
Perhaps the most important progress has been in our ability to look at an individual patient’s tumor and determine which genes have changed. The ability to sequence the entire genome of many adult and pediatric cancers has led to the development of many novel treatments. The goal is to target the specific gene abnormalities in treating the cancer. While significant challenges remain, personalized medicine (using next generation sequencing for clinical practice) is changing the way clinical trials are being designed.
Because of the advances in genomics, we are much better today than ten years ago at predicting which children are going to need very aggressive therapy and which can achieve positive outcomes with less therapy, thereby suffering fewer side effects. This ability to maintain survival rates and reduce the toxicity of therapies is very important to quality of life – and sometimes quantity of life – for survivors.