In Honor of...
In 2016, nearly 16,000 children and adolescents in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) is entrusted with many of these young lives—MSK treats more children with cancer than any other institution in the world. The talented Pediatrics team is working toward a common goal: providing the best possible care and ultimately returning children to a life focused on family, friends, and a future filled with dreams of college, careers, and families of their own.
MSK has played an instrumental role in developing safer and more-effective therapies for pediatric patients—even bringing the great promise of immunotherapy to children with cancer. This approach uses drugs and vaccines to harness the body’s natural immune system, and directs it toward cancer cells: fighting a malignancy in the same way as it would a common cold.
For more than a century, MSK has had a long and distinguished record of achievement in this exploding area of scientific inquiry—and continues to attract the world’s experts on the subject to its ranks. And now, pediatric oncologist Shakeel Modak, MD, has launched new studies that seek to advance the important immunology research of Nai-Kong V. Cheung, MD, PhD, Head, Neuroblastoma Program—with far-reaching implications.
All donations made to this page will support research, like the study described below, at the MSK Neuroblastoma Program. Philanthropy is vital to MSK's efforts, and we are so grateful for your generosity and support.
Combining Hu3F8 with Donated Natural Killer Cells to Treat Children with Recurrent or Persistent Neuroblastoma
Novel immunotherapies—developed and further enhanced at MSK by Dr. Cheung’s team—using the humanized monoclonal antibody hu3F8 have already begun to give new hope to children with neuroblastoma, a disease that develops in the nervous system.
Hu3F8 is an antibody that attaches to neuroblastoma cells and helps focus a patient’s own immune system—especially white blood cells—to attack the cancerous cells. Natural killer (NK) cells are white blood cells that recognize and kill abnormal cells in the body. A number of studies at MSK have demonstrated that NK cells work well in tandem with Hu3F8 to target neuroblastoma.
Research has shown that introducing NK cells obtained from a donor (also known as a “mismatch”) can boost the killer cells’ anti-tumor activity against neuroblastoma. To evaluate this theory, Dr. Modak and pediatric oncologist Brian H. Kushner, MD—in collaboration with Dr. Cheung and physician-scientist Katharine C. Hsu, MD, PhD—are now investigating a new treatment for patients with neuroblastoma whose disease did not respond to standard treatment or returned after therapy. This regimen includes Hu3F8, the anticancer drug cyclophosphamide, and NK cells from a donor. Patients will also receive a treatment called interleukin-2, or IL-2, which stimulates NK cells and helps them grow and survive.
Based upon the highly promising early results of this trial, additional clinical studies are being developed for high-risk children with neuroblastoma.