Written by Michael Wiggins
This is Michael. Last Thursday, Melissa and I visited the Benioff Children’s Hospital at the University of California-San Francisco, and then had dinner with Dr. Sabine Mueller, Dr. Cassie Kline and the wonderful staff of the Oncology and Hematology Department. We also got to meet with Dr. Mignon Loh and Dr. Katherine Matthay during the week to thank them for what they do for children with cancer and to find out more about ongoing research being conducted in neurological and brain cancers in children. Even though Cannon was diagnosed with neuroblastoma and it has just slightly better than 50-50 survival rates, would you believe that there are other forms of pediatric cancer that have even worse rates of survival? Hard to believe, huh? It’s true.
DIPG, Ependymoma and AT/RT are types of brain tumors diagnosed in infants and small children. Many of you followed baby Emmi Grace just a few months ago. We lost this beautiful child to AT/RT. The survival rate for these types of tumors is nearly zero or zero. Know many adult forms of cancer with zero survival rate? Or, know the patient or guardian being told at the outset, "Probably best that you don’t even try treatment; just go enjoy whatever time is left.”??? Answer: almost none. Yet, this type of pediatric cancer is diagnosed every day in kids, and most of the world is unaware. And children are dying... parents are burying their children… wrong... unjust… unnecessary. Cannonball Kids’ cancer Foundation would like to do something about that.
The doctors and research team at the Benioff Children’s Hospital are currently conducting clinical trials on all types of tumors found in the developing brain of babies, infants and children. Through the Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC), clinical trials are being designed, or are in progress, to treat kids with brain tumors that cannot be treated with standard therapy, or that have recurred following standard therapy. PNOC has now grown to a network of 15 children’s hospitals that conduct clinical trials of new therapies for children with brain tumors. The goal of the consortium is to improve outcomes by translating what is found in the laboratory in cancer biology testing into better treatments for our kids. We believe they are on to something, that they are being proactive with new and innovative ideas and may soon alleviate the suffering of those who tragically know what the synonym “DIPG” and “AT/RT” mean and know what “Ependymoma” is.
Please help Cannonball Kids’ cancer Foundation fund research to end the tragedy of cancer in children. We know it can be done. Despite all those who would say that a cure for cancer found in children is too difficult a challenge and likely will never be achieved, CKc intends to bring an end to those cancers found primarily in children.