A special message from Dr. Timothy Cripe, MD, PhD, Chief of the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplant at Nationwide Children's Hospital.
Pediatric cancer research receives just 4% of the federally-funded annual budget from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Much of this is do the high cure rate of pediatric cancers when compared to cancers in other populations. While the cure rate for pediatric cancer may be comparatively high, the childhood cancer community still relies on support beyond this 4% to provide the necessary research and clinical trials for patients with the rarest cancer diagnoses.
The Hematology, Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplant team at Nationwide Children’s Hospital takes the responsibility of effective use of resources very seriously and is making permanent, lasting progress in the fight against pediatric cancer on a global scale. Our dedicated, impassioned staff is proactively collaborating with other pediatric institutions around the world, and today there are more answers than ever before thanks to a generation of research and clinical trials.
However, pediatric cancer is still affecting children every day. Each year, over 15,000 children in the United States are diagnosed with cancer. Years of childhood are still being taken away; patients with pediatric cancer could spend months in the hospital, away from friends, school, and home, for treatment. Side effects from treatment, effects like infertility, neurological damage, and even the increased chance of secondary cancers still stay with children far beyond their youth and into adulthood. And there are still some pediatric cancers that have alarmingly high mortality rates, including diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (a type of brain tumor) and soft-tissue sarcomas.
While we may have more answers, there are still many problems we need to solve to give patients of pediatric cancer the quality of life they deserve, as quickly as possible. At Nationwide Children’s, our collaborations such as The NEXT Consortium bring together over 40 institutions internationally to find solutions for neuroblastoma that won’t have devastating neurological effects on patients. A first-of-its kind Goods Manufacturing Practice facility now housed on Nationwide Children’s campus allows researchers to focus on answers for the rarest diseases which may not otherwise gain the attention and support of pharmaceutical companies. Our Psychosocial Services help children return to a new state of normal following their treatment, with a focus on the physical, mental, and emotional needs for each patient and their families.
We’ve come a long way with the 4% of funds allocated by the NCI; but we still have a long way to go to provide the future each child affected by pediatric cancer deserves. Imagine what we could do with your help.