New Ewing Sarcoma Research Center at Texas Children’s Hospital Made Possible by Virani Family
This article features CureSearch Young Investigator Jason Yustein, MD, PhD. To learn more about his research click here.
(Bio News Texas) -The Texas Children’s Cancer Center has opened a new space to develop more effective diagnostics and therapeutic approaches for Ewing Sarcoma in chldren. The goal of the new Faris D. Virani Ewing Sarcoma Center is to help find the cure to the rare childhood disease, in which cancer cells are found in bones or soft issues.
Made possible by a $2 million gift from the Virani family, the center will be directed by Dr. Jason Yustein, assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, and will honor Asha and Farid Virani’s son Faris. During the event that has celebrated the Virani family’s gift, Faris, who has been fighting Ewing sarcoma, presented Yustein with a piggy bank containing $1,000.
Over the past 30 to 40 years, only marginal advancements have been made in the care and management of patients with Ewing sarcoma due to the lack of understanding of its biology. “There has been a lack of new chemotherapeutic agents introduced for patients with this disease and current treatments are extremely intensive and often have both short- and long-term side effects that can negatively impact lifestyle and quality of life for these patients,” said Yustein
CureSearch is proud to announce a partnership with Camp Quality USA, an organization dedicated to providing camping experiences for children with cancer during the 2014 CureSearch Walk season. This year, Camp Quality will be at 12 CureSearch Walks across the country participating with Camp Quality Walk teams, arts & crafts tables and teen tents.
Camp Quality USA in Illinois began their involvement with CureSearch at the Chicago CureSearch Walk four years ago. The organization was looking for another way to get involved in children’s cancer awareness and research. When they found the Chicago CureSearch Walk, it sounded like a perfect match. They have had a team at the Walk every year since, and love seeing some of the campers at the Walk.
Camp Quality is an important organization to Chicago CureSearch Walk committee member, Rick. When his son, Kyle, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma when he was 10 years old, his parents were worried that he would miss out on many childhood experiences. Then Rick found out about Camp Quality and he knew that he had found the perfect place for Kyle.
(The Daily Reporter) – March 7, 2014: Emily Blair doesn’t remember her battle with cancer — all she knows is that she won.
Emily, 13, was diagnosed right before her second birthday with rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer made up of cells that would under normal circumstances develop into skeletal muscles.
Emily underwent chemotherapy and radiation therapy — and has now been cancer-free for 11 years.
Every year since Emily’s diagnosis, she and her family have participated in fund-raising events for childhood cancer research. The one in which they have been the most active is theCureSearch Walk for Childhood Cancer.
CureSearch is a national not-for-profit foundation. Through CureSearch new childhood cancer treatment technologies are developed, children are matched with clinical trials and parents are provided with resources germane to their child’s illness, treatment and hopefully their cures.
This year, Emily and her mother decided they wanted to raise even more money for CureSearch. To accomplish that Emily, with the help of her mother, organized a pajama day at Legg Middle School, where Emily is an eighth-grader.
Today, for a $1 donation Emily’s classmates were permitted to wear pajamas to school. All the proceeds raised will be donated to CureSearch.
“Everybody has been so great and so supportive,” Emily said. “People who aren’t even going to be in school on the pajama day have donated money anyway … it’s awesome.”
(Science World Report) – Researchers from the UT Health Center may have pinpointed a protein that could potentially play a key role in the development of pediatric AML-promising new information to treat and cure possible childhood leukemias.
Background information from the study notes that AML begins when maturing cells start to grow into different kinds of blood cells. For this, the cancerous cells grow and proliferate in an abnormal way as they fail to develop into normally functioning white blood cells. The high levels of a protein known as WTAP can contribute to abnormal cell behavior, which could harm the effectiveness of treatments for this type of leukemia.
For Sanja Bansal, Ph.D., and researchers at Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Center at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, they worked to “knock down” leukemia cells via a technique known as WTAP expression in AML cells. The results yielded successful findings, according to background information from the study.
“Knocking down this protein, WTAP, greatly suppressed proliferation and induced differentiation,” said Hima Bansal, Ph.D., senior research associate at the Health Science Center and lead author of the paper, via a press release. “It took care of both problems.”
In 2012 when Alex was just 6 he started complaining of aches and a sore throat. His symptoms persisted, so his mother, Jamie, brought him to their family doctor. His doctor ran tests for strep throat and the flu; when the tests came back negative, they decided to run blood tests as a precaution.
The blood test results surprised everyone, as Alex showed signs of leukemia. His pediatrician told the family to head to the hospital immediately, so they traveled the three hours to Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska where Alex had more tests performed. The results confirmed his doctor’s fears, Alex had leukemia.
Alex started eight months of intensechemotherapy and 8 days of cranial radiationimmediately. His treatment will take more than 3 years, but he has been amazing throughout it all. “We are so inspired by his attitude,” explains Jamie. “He never complains about what is going on, just goes through treatment with a smile on his face.”
Research Aimed at Understanding Mechanistic Characterization of Tumor Initiating Cells
Liver cancer is rare in children and adolescents. There are two main types of childhood liver cancer: hepatoblastoma, a very rare kind of liver cancer usually found in children under 4; and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer in adolescents, young adults, and adults.
HCC is one of the most aggressive and difficult to treat cancers. Although major progress has been made in understanding HCC risk factors, the molecular mechanisms that cause HCC to begin and progress are poorly understood, particularly in children. Regardless of the cause, cancer stem cells (CSC) are known to play a role in the development, growth, and spread of cancer, as well as in the cancer becoming resistant to treatment or recurring.
Every cancerous tumor is believed to have begun from a single progenitor cell that has developed the ability to survive and grow in what might otherwise be abnormal circumstances. Debanjan Dhar, PhD at the University of California, San Diego is currently conducting a study to isolate and purify HCC stem/progenitor cells long before tumor nodules are visible.
In addition, Dr. Dhar has been awarded a two-year grant from CureSearch for Children’s Cancer to study the role of a specific protein, CD44, in the creation of HCC and to investigate the molecular mechanisms that are regulated by CD44 in the development of liver tumors.
An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) uses a special scanning machine to take pictures of the inside of the body. The patient will lie still on the table inside the MRI machine while it takes pictures. There will be a rhythmic knocking sound during the scan, like a drumbeat. Some children are frightened by the sound. Parents are unable to stay in the same room during the test, however, a microphone and a mirror allow the parents and staff to always hear, see and talk to the patient.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Demonstration
The following video demonstrates a patient undergoing Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) as a part of cancer treatment. This video was designed to educate parents and caregivers by showing an actual MRI. Our intent with this video it to help you, and your child if you chose to show it to them, understand what will happen when your child has this procedure.