September 8, 2015—(NEW YORK)—The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM) and the NCI-designated Albert Einstein Cancer Center (AECC) today announced receipt of $1.3 million grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health. The funding will support preclinical studies of five to 10 novel investigational treatments each year against osteosarcoma, the most common bone cancer in children. Drugs that show promise will be selected for clinical trials involving children and teens. This grant is part of a comprehensive NCI preclinical pediatric research program, Pediatric Preclinical Testing Consortium (PPTC), to identify and prioritize new, more effective treatments for solid tumor and blood cancers which primarily affect children and teens.
Richard G. Gorlick, M.D.“This research should yield new hope for hundreds of children and families across the country faced with a diagnosis of osteosarcoma,” said Richard G. Gorlick, M.D., Vice Chairman, Department of Pediatrics and Division Chief, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, CHAM; and Professor of Pediatrics and of Molecular Pharmacology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and the national lead on this research program in osteosarcoma. “For those of us who have spent decades researching this challenging cancer, being able to more systematically screen for new drugs that will directly impact the course of the disease is very exciting.”
Dr. Gorlick has spent his distinguished career focused on research and patient care. His clinical interests are in the care of children and young adults affected by sarcomas, which includes osteosarcoma. In addition to his work at Montefiore, he currently serves as Chair of the Bone Tumor Disease Committee for the Children’s Oncology Group and as a member of the Clinical Trials Group of the Sarcoma Alliance for Research Through Collaboration. He serves on many review panels, advisory and editorial boards, including being past-President of the Connective Tissue Oncology Society.
“This research should yield new hope for hundreds of children and families across the country faced with a diagnosis of osteosarcoma.”– Richard G. Gorlick, M.D.
Osteosarcoma, while the most common form of bone cancer in children, is considered a rare disease as only about 800 new cases are diagnosed in the U.S. every year. The disease is most common in teens, equal among boys and girls, with an average age of diagnosis of 15. Clinical research in osteosarcoma is currently very active. While traditionally treated by surgery and chemotherapy, clinical trials are underway to test: immuno-therapies; targeted therapies including monoclonal antibodies; bone cell treatments; as well as new chemotherapy agents. CHAM and Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care are currently engaged in three of these clinical trials with more planned to open shortly.
The NCI-supported Pediatric Preclinical Testing Consortium (PPTC) is a program to systematically evaluate novel agents against pediatric solid tumor and leukemia models. The primary goal of the PPTC is to develop high quality preclinical data to help pediatric oncology researchers identify new agents that will show significant activity when clinically evaluated against selected childhood cancers. By supporting a more reliable agent prioritization process, the PPTC can contribute to the goal of identifying more effective treatments for children with cancer. The PPTC builds upon ten years of experience with the Pediatric Preclinical Testing Program, which collaborated with more than 50 pharmaceutical companies to test novel agents against the program’s pediatric preclinical models. The PPTC is supported through NCI cooperative agreement research grants to the PPTC Coordinating Center at Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International (PI, Dr. Diana Severynse-Stevens) and to five research programs responsible for the evaluation of agents against pediatric cancer preclinical models. The research programs are led by Dr. Peter Houghton (Sarcoma and renal tumors, Greehey Children’s Cancer Institute), Dr. John Maris (Neuroblastoma, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia), Dr. Richard Lock, (Leukemia, Children’s Cancer Institute of Australia), Dr. Xiao-Nan Li (Brain tumors, Texas Children’s Hospital), and Dr. Richard Gorlick (Osteosarcoma, Albert Einstein College of Medicine). More information about the PPTC is available at its website or by contacting info@NCIPPTC.org.