New classes of therapeutics are needed to improve survival of children with cancer and decrease the life-altering physical, emotional, and financial costs of curative therapies. The team uses new technologies in the fields of cancer genomics, epigenetics (the study of mechanisms that alter gene expression), and proteomics (research into proteins and their functions) to discover and validate new targets for immunotherapy.
The SU2C–St. Baldrick’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Dream Team is building new antibodies, antibody-drug combinations, and CAR T cells to attack these targets. It is developing innovative new immunotherapies, discovering basic mechanisms of effectiveness (or lack thereof) in both antibody and cellular engineering, and devising novel methods to monitor clinical effectiveness and toxicity.
Team members have opened 25 clinical trials and treated 688 pediatric patients with cancers that previously resisted treatment. They are demonstrating the potency of immunotherapy against acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and defining mechanisms by which these cancer cells develop resistance. They have also made progress against childhood solid cancers, with many emerging therapeutics in clinics or scheduled to enter testing in the future.