Grants - Translational Grants - California - 2016

Shahab Asgharzadeh, M.D.

Funded by the 2016 Vitale Gala

This research will help us improve a new type of therapy for children with neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is a deadly tumor in the nervous system outside the brain. With this therapy doctors administer both chemotherapy and a protein (antibody) that attaches to tumor cells at the same time. This combination, a form of chemo-immunotherapy, was tested on children whose tumors had not decreased even after many rounds of chemotherapy. These children would have died, but chemo-immunotherapy literally melted the tumors off after a few rounds of treatment. The results of this study have not been published yet but are already being used by doctors to successfully treat these children.

Despite this great outcome, half of the children did not respond to the new treatment. There is still a lot to learn about chemo-immunotherapy. In this study, we will test patients’ tumors and find out how their blood cells change with chemo-immunotherapy. We hypothesize that chemo-immunotherapy is assisted by white blood cells destroying tumor cells. Our goal is to study how tumor cells stop or slow down the effect of this therapy. If we are successful, we can modify chemo-immunotherapy to work in all children with neuroblastoma.

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