Research Round-Up: Childhood Cancer in the News

As October winds down, we've rounded up some recent research news that we want to be sure you haven't missed. Are any of these recent studies relevant to you or your child? Let us know in the comments.

  • Late Effects - Kidney Function:  In children treated with therapies known to potentially cause kidney damage, including radiation to the kidney region and certain chemotherapy drugs (especially high doses of cisplatin), kidney function was likely to deteriorate relatively quickly after treatment and would not improve with time. "Some Childhood Cancer Survivors May Face Subsequent Renal Problems" (Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention via Science Daily, 9/24/13)
  • Lifestyle Factors & Survivor Heart Health: Childhood cancer survivors can help reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease in adulthood by making smart lifestyle choices. That perhaps isn't surprising news, but this study especially highlights the threat of hypertension, which can be managed with diet and exercise. Survivors at particular risk are those who received cardio-damaging treatment like anthracyclines and chest irradiation. "Preventable Risk Factors Pose Threat to Heart Health of Childhood Cancer Survivors" (Journal of Clinical Oncology via Science Daily, 10/10/13)

AHAFor more about the long-term cardiovascular risks for childhood cancer survivors, check out the American Heart Association's new "Top Ten Things to Know" one-pager (pdf).

  • Phase I Viral Therapy Trial: Dr. Timothy Cripe, a pediatric oncologist at Nationwide Children's Hospital, writes about a new phase I clinical trial that will study

    Dr. Timothy Cripe  Credit: Nationwide Children's Hospital

    viral therapy in solid tumor childhood cancers, including neuroblastoma and sarcoma. Viral therapy involves altering a virus - in this case the cold sore virus - so it lodges inside tumors instead of healthy tissues, hopefully killing the tumors. Dr. Cripe writes: "Viral therapy has the potential to make a world of difference for pediatric cancer patients who would otherwise be treated with chemotherapy" by eliminating side effects and late effects from treatment.  "The Cold Sore Virus May Help Kids Fight Cancer" (LiveScience, 10/10/13)

  • Early Leukemia Research: Pre-clinical research out of Indiana University indicates a possible breakthrough in treating the types of mast cell leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia that have a mutation in the KIT receptor. Researchers have identified new gene targets that host the mutation, which may someday enable them to shut down the growth of those leukemic cells.  "IU Researcher Could Have Leukemia Treatment Breakthrough" (Journal of Clinical Investigation via Lakeshore Public Media, 10/2/13)
  • reproducibility_initiative$1.3 Million Grant Awarded to Reproduce Cancer Studies: We know that new research is vitally important, but so is validating and verifying already-published research. A "Reproducibility Initiative" received funding this month from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to move forward with independently validating results from 50 landmark cancer studies conducted between 2010-2012. The Initiative was launched last year in response to pharmaceutical concerns that over 70 percent of published cancer research couldn't be reproduced, thus hampering the development of new therapies. CCCA is an advocate for breaking drug development barriers, and we are excited to see a new initiative aimed to address pharmaceutical concerns about this issue. We’ll keep an eye on this project to see if any childhood cancer studies are included. (Center for Open Science, 10/16/13)

And, finally, to leave you with an extra dose of inspiration, check out this video of patients and staff at Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHAD) lip-syncing to Katy Perry's "Roar." Thanks for motivating us today, CHAD kids!