PHILADELPHIA, PA, August 19, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- The Children's Cancer Recovery Foundation
has seen the devastating impact that a cancer diagnosis can have on families. In response they offer a variety of programs geared toward giving children hope for the future and providing assistance for their families. They also look to advances in research to improve the outlook for these children. A recent article on redOrbit reveals that researchers may have found a way to boost children's immune systems to help them better fight off cancer.
Neuroblastoma is a common form of pediatric cancer that grows from underdeveloped tissue of the nervous system. Researchers in the Antibody and Vaccine Group may have found a way to boost the immune system's response to this cancer. The article explains that they "have developed two monoclonal antibodies called anti-4-1BB and anti-CD40 and investigated a third called anti-CTLA-4." The antibodies bind to different molecules in the immune system and stimulate its response in fighting tumors.
In laboratory trials when tumors were treated with these antibodies, 40 to 60 percent regressed and ensured long-term survival. For more aggressive tumors, the antibodies were paired with a cancer vaccine Survivin and similar results were found. When working alone, the antibodies did not have the same slowing effect on aggressive tumors. The research is still in pre-clinical stages and requires more research to determine how it works and ways to use it in the treatment of neuroblastoma, but it is a start. Says Dr. Juliet Gray, Senior Lecturer in Pediatric Oncology and Cancer Research UK scientist at the University of Southampton, "Six out of ten children with neuroblastoma can be successfully treated with conventional chemotherapy. But for those children who don't respond well to this treatment, immunotherapy could become a vital new treatment option."
The body contains T-cells which are anti-cancer cells, but cancer is complex and can turn off or subdue the immune system's ability to recognize these cells. The immune response to cancer is already weaker than that to infection, so this does not help the situation. But the new antibodies that researchers have created are designed to wake these T-cells and restore their anti-cancer activity. This would prompt them to attack tumors. While this procedure is currently in use in adult trials, it has not yet undergone use in pediatric trials. Dr. Gray and her team are looking to use the information gathered in pre-clinical studies to develop the first pediatric clinical trials. They are looking to learn as much as possible in the lab before attempting treatment on children. Professor Martin Glennie, Cancer Research UK scientist and Head of the Cancer Sciences at the University of Southampton, also worked on the study and says, "We very much hope these results will enable us to develop a pioneering immunotherapy treatment for a childhood cancer. I theory this approach enables us to kill cancer cells without damaging healthy cells, resulting in fewer toxic side effects such as hair loss, nausea and tiredness."
"Boosting the body's inherent ability to fight cancer is where cancer treatment must shift," says Greg Anderson, founder and CEO of the Children's Cancer Recovery Foundation. "This leading edge research employing antibodies to heighten immune response is filled with promise. Children's Cancer Recovery Foundation is supporting the next stage of research which will determine safety and effectiveness and bring us closer to a cure."
The Children's Cancer Recovery Foundation
assists children under the age of 18 and their families in dealing with the hardships of cancer diagnoses. They provide a wide variety of services including giving toys and games to children, supplying medicine and medical equipment to developing countries, and providing financial assistance to families in need. Their motto is "creating smiles, inspiring hope, and rediscovering childhood." The organization was founded by Greg Anderson, a stage IV lung cancer survivor.