Sohn Conference Foundation awards $50,000 grant to support cutting-edge pediatric clinical trial in New York

Research Focused on Preventing Disease Relapse of High Risk Childhood Cancer

The Sohn Conference Foundation today announced a $50,000 grant to support funding of a Phase 2 cutting-edge pediatric clinical trial from the Neuroblastoma and Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium (NMTRC) now extending to  New York City. With the goal of preventing relapse in children with neuroblastoma in remission using a new, oral investigational drug, difluoromethylornithine (DFMO), which is used to treat African sleeping sickness, the NYC trial will join the trial led in Grand Rapids, MI, which is demonstrating encouraging results in its young patients.

“As part of our commitment to support initiatives to cure and treat pediatric cancer, we seek to back the most innovative projects that can make a huge impact on children’s health,” said Douglas Hirsch, Co-Chair of the Sohn Conference Foundation. “Neuroblastoma is the most common extracranial tumor in children, and Dr. Sholler’s trial is an encouraging venture towards preventing the relapse of this high-risk disease.”

Neuroblastoma is a cancer of the sympathetic nervous system that typically manifests when children are very young, with the average age at diagnosis being 18 months. Neuroblastoma relapses are particularly devastating – more than 35 percent of patients with neuroblastoma will relapse, at which point the survival rate is less than 10 percent. The trial, which is being managed by Dr. Giselle Sholler, aims to prevent relapse of neuroblastoma through a twice-daily regimen of DFMO, and initial results show unprecedented rates of relapse prevention.

With this grant from the Sohn Conference Foundation, The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM) located in the Bronx, NY, becomes the first research site in the state to study DFMO as a potential treatment to prevent the relapse of neuroblastoma in children, joining 18 other research sites throughout the country.

“We are incredibly thankful for the support of the Sohn Conference Foundation which allows our research to reach NYC children,” said Dr. Giselle Sholler, Chair of the NMTRC and Director of Pediatric Oncology Research at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. “We have not had any high-risk neuroblastoma patients diagnosed at our hospital relapse in the three and a half years since this trial opened.  We are hopeful this will make a difference in the lives of families in NYC fighting this difficult childhood cancer.”

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