Dr Charles Keller’s New hope for Rare Children’s Cancers

While many types of cancers have had improved survival outcomes over recent years due to new drugs and other clinical innovations, there are certain cancers that have not progressed appreciably in their survival rates or in developing new methodologies and drug protocols for decades.

Unfortunately, these cancers primarily affect children and young adults. Since the number of patients diagnosed with these deadly diseases annually is small compared to other types of cancers such as breast, prostate and colon cancer, they are treated as “orphan” diseases which translate into less emphasis by the drug companies and medical establishment in finding treatments and cures for these forms of cancer.

It is therefore up to dedicated researchers and grassroots support groups to “pick up the slack” and help those children afflicted with these deadly diseases by finding new drug protocols and techniques to stop the cancers from metastasising at worst or to stop the cancer cells from developing at best.

Dr Charles Keller founded the Children’s Cancer Therapy Development Institute (cc-TDI) in Oregon to bridge scientific discovery and the initiation of clinical trials.

Keller’s research focuses on the development of more effective, less toxic therapies for childhood cancers. His special interest is advanced disease that has spread beyond the initial location of the cancer.

Keller co-chairs the brain tumour developmental therapeutics committee (CNS-DVL) of the Children’s Oncology Group and is a member of the soft tissue sarcoma (STS) committee of Children’s Oncology Group.

Keller recently completed a 5-year rotation as a Standing Member of the National Cancer Institute NCI-I Study Section. He has authored over 80 scientific publications and is a recognised expert in the biology of childhood sarcomas and the pre-clinical investigation of childhood cancers.

He is also a co-founder of First Ascent Biomedical, a company developing personalised medical approaches to therapy for canine and human solid tumour patients.

Jared’s Juggernaut to Cure Sarcoma, a non-profit which funds researchers of body sparing cancer treatments targeted for rare children’s cancers, recently announced that Dr Keller would be the keynote speaker at an event which will take place on November 5, 2017.

cc-TDI’s current primary focus areas are Rhabdomyosarcoma, Non-Rhabdomyosarcoma Soft Tissue Sarcomas (NRSTS), Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) and Medulloblastoma. Secondary focus areas are Osteosarcoma and Neuroblastoma. cc-TDI addresses pediatric cancers that occur across all age ranges from children to adolescents, young adults and older adults.

cc-TDI is a leader in the multi-institution consortium dedicated to moving a multi-agent chemotherapy into clinical trial for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG),  a rare tumor of the brainstem that occurs almost exclusively in children under 10 years old. It represents one of the most devastating diagnoses among pediatric cancers, with an average survival rate of just nine months.

Remarkably, this is the first time that a group of basic and translational scientists and physicians from institutions throughout North America and Europe have come together as a consortium to focus on a bench-to-bedside approach to rationally target therapy for children with DIPG.

Dr Keller will be discussing his research objectives and some of the resultant outcomes and successes of the Rapid Preclinical Development of a Targeted Therapy Combination for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).

Jared’s Juggernaut to Cure Sarcoma (JJCUR) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit which was started after the founders’ 26 year old son, Jared Steven Grossman, died after fighting Rhabdomyosarcoma for five years.

The protocol that Jared was given was one that was in place for twenty years and had a less than 20% survival rate for his stage of the disease.

We found that the chemo and radiation was almost as devastating to Jared’s body as the cancer itself and, after he died, we vowed that we would work hard to support researchers who were innovative and looked for body sparing methods to fight cancers,” said his father.

Source: Dr Charles Keller’s New hope for Rare Children’s Cancers

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