While low-risk forms of neuroblastoma may spontaneously disappear, in high-risk forms, the cancer still has a very high rate of not responding (refractory), or recurring (relapsing) during or after treatment.
Through the Refractory Neuroblastoma Program at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, our team of investigators is dedicated to providing options for children with relapsed or refractory disease through an evolving portfolio of clinical trials, including those through the Children's Oncology Group, the New Approaches to Neuroblastoma Therapy consortium and trials developed at CHOP. The goal is to provide multiple options of cutting-edge, new therapies to patients with refractory neuroblastoma through intensive basic research in our laboratories, which is designed to create new treatments in our clinics.
Consultation with the Neuroblastoma Developmental Therapeutics team is required to determine eligibility and suitability for any trial. After consultation, the team partners with the referring institution to design and deliver the best possible therapies, many of which are experimental, for each child as his situation with the disease evolves.
The Cancer Center has the world's most active program in providing 131I-MIBG therapy to patients with neuroblastoma. We have treated hundreds of patients on multiple clinical trials, and have led the efforts to prove this drug to be safe and very effective. We have developed modern “targeted” therapies, such as treatments against the hereditary neuroblastoma gene ALK that we discovered.
We also have a system to develop and prioritize these medicines in a way that can provide a potentially effective treatment while also focusing on the child’s quality of life and overall health and well-being. The Neuroblastoma Developmental Therapeutics Team sees patients from around the country, and can see children from other countries when proper arrangements are made.
Some children treated for relapsed or refractory neuroblastoma develop complications years later. Our Cancer Survivorship Program provides information about the potential long-term effects of the specific treatment your child received, including ways of monitoring and treating these effects.
Reviewed by: John M. Maris, MD, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Date: November 2009
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