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Kristina A. Cole, MD, PhD

Attending physician

Assistant Professor, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

As a pediatric oncologist, I am a member of the multi-disciplinary neuro-oncology team who cares for children with brain and spinal cord tumors. The patient and family are the central members of this team and depending on the unique needs of each child may include a pediatric neuro-radiologist, neurosurgeon, radiation oncologist, social worker, neuro-psychologist, neuro-ophthalmologist and endocrinologist. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive, coordinated plan of care that is based on the best medical evidence available.

We know that while many children are cured of their cancers, there will be some children who are not cured, despite very intense therapy. These children provide the inspiration for the work in my laboratory, which focuses on identifying genes, and hence proteins, that pediatric cancer cells rely upon for growth and survival. Using the aggressive pediatric cancer neuroblastoma as a model, we have found that depleting the CHK1 gene from cells, by genetic means or by a drug, cause the cancer cells stop growing and die. We hope that by taking this approach in combination with chemotherapy, we can eventually offer a new therapy for children with neuroblastoma and other aggressive pediatric cancers.

I believe it is a great privilege to be involved in the care of our patient and their families. They deserve kindness and compassion. Together, with the advantages of the multidisciplinary team, CHOP provides an excellent place for a child to be cared for with a pediatric brain or spinal cord tumor.

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