Theodore Laetsch Joins Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to Launch Very Rare Malignant Tumors Program

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Photo of Theodore Laetsch Pediatric hematologist-oncologist Theodore Laetsch has joined the Division of Oncology at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), where he will launch a cutting-edge Very Rare Malignant Tumors Program that will seek to develop new treatments for children with rare and complex tumors. In addition to leading this new program, he will also direct CHOP’s Developmental Therapeutics Program and become the CHOP Primary Investigator of the National Cancer Institute Pediatric Early Phase Clinical Trials Network (PEP-CTN).

With this appointment, Dr. Laetsch has come full circle to the site of his training. He completed his fellowship in pediatric hematology-oncology at CHOP in 2012 and served as an instructor from 2012 to 2013. He then spent seven years at University of Texas Southwestern and Children's Medical Center in Dallas, where he was promoted to an associate professor of pediatric hematology-oncology and directed the Experimental Therapeutics Program in the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Health.

As a national leader in pediatric cancer therapeutics, treatment and research, Dr. Laetsch sits on multiple national committees related to these disciplines. In 2018, he played a key role in the development and FDA approval of larotrectinib, a revolutionary treatment for adults and children with solid tumors containing neurotrophic receptor tyrosine kinase (NTRK) gene fusions. In 2019, the Children’s Oncology Group appointed Dr. Laetsch as chair of the Rare Tumors Committee. He has also been involved in national trials of CAR T-cell therapy, including acting as an institutional principal investigator in the ELIANA trial. ELIANA was the first global and pivotal trial of CAR T, which was chaired by Stephan Grupp, MD from CHOP. Dr. Laetsch has continued to be a leader in pediatric CAR T, and led the analysis of the effects of CAR T-cell therapy on the quality of life in children and young adults with relapsed or refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

“We are excited for Dr. Laetsch return to CHOP and take on these important and groundbreaking leadership roles” said Stephen P. Hunger, MD, Chief of the Division of Oncology and Director of the Center for Childhood Cancer Research. “Dr. Laetsch is a rising star in pediatric oncology and is a key addition to our pediatric cancer program. With the launch of our Very Rare Malignant Tumors Program, Dr. Laetsch will lead an innovative new program that will develop breakthrough treatments for our patients.”

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