September 29, 2015
The Children’s Blood & Cancer Center (CBCC) research team at Dell Children’s attended the Sixth Annual Childhood Cancer Caucus Summit in Washington DC on September 18. The team was invited by Congressman Michael McCaul of Austin to address congressional leaders, representatives from the bio-tech industry, childhood cancer foundations and others in discussing the importance of clinical trial research in the fight against childhood cancer.
CBCC Clinical Research Director Dr. Amy Fowler presented the CBCC’s experience with the clinical trial drug, Unituxin, which was developed for children diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma. Unituxin was approved by the FDA in March and is one of only three pediatric cancer drugs approved by the FDA over the past 20 years.
Dr. Fowler says the CBCC has enrolled children with cancer into lifesaving clinical trials since becoming a member of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) in 1995. COG is a prestigious collaborative research organization of about 2,000 physician researchers at more than 200 hospitals and is one of the world’s largest organization devoted exclusively to childhood and adolescent cancer research.
“Research through clinical trials helps determine the most effective and safest treatments for a disease, improves survival rates, while attempting to reduce unwanted side effects and/or late effects of pediatric cancer treatments,” says Dr. Fowler. “The Unituxin clinical trial highlights the importance of collaborative research to further medical progress. While this one drug will help hundreds of children each year, there are many more families who need help, and we have miles to go.”
Casey and Lesley Ryan, parents of CBCC patient Rex Ryan, also shared their family’s story. Rex is one of five CBCC patients diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma, who are alive today because of their participation in the Unituxin clinical trial.
Rex began his tough battle with stage-four neuroblastoma at 17-months. Today he’s a happy and thriving three-year-old toddler who is just shy of being one year cancer free. Lesley is particularly grateful to the families whose participation in past clinical trials have led to research discoveries and helped create hope for others.
“The path they paved for families like ours and for children like Rex is an incredible one,” she says. “Because of their courage, we can look forward to the first day of Kindergarten, awkward middle school moments, high school graduation, college visits, and someday, grandchildren. Because of their strength and bravery, we can embrace each new day and the opportunities they hold for Rex and for our entire family.”
Click here to learn more about the Childhood Cancer Caucus.