C. Patrick Reynolds, MD, PhD, director for the School of Medicine Cancer Center, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) has received nearly $1.2 million from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute (CPRIT) to support a study titled “GD2 Expression and Response to Chemoimmunotherapy in Neuroblastoma.”
The Health Problem: Neuroblastoma
Neuroblastoma is the most common cancer outside of the brain in infants and young children and is a challenge to treat, especially in patients that relapse after initial therapy. A type of cancer that forms in certain type of nerve tissue, the disease most frequently starts from one of the adrenal glands but may develop in the neck, chest, abdomen or spine.
Current treatments involve surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation. Neuroblastoma is a malignancy of early childhood, affecting ≈1 in 7000 children. It is the most common extracranial solid tumor that occurs in children, with an overall incidence rate in the United States of ≈9.7 per million children under the age of 15 years. There is a modest difference in incidence rates by sex (boy: girl rate ratio = 1.2). The highest incidence rate, 55.2 per 1 million, occurs in children in the first year of life.
This study involves the researcher’s ongoing investigations into the way cancer cells escape from therapy with antibodies that bind to GD2, for which the preliminary data suggest the mechanism is loss of GD2 from the cancer cells. Apparently, the drug Dinutuximab, an antibody binding to GD2, has the ability to enhance chemoimmunotherapy both in patients and in preclinical models. GD2, a complex molecule highly expressed on neuroblastoma cells, it represents a target for successfully treating tumors.
How this Grant Helps?
Dr. Reynolds notes on the helpfulness of this grant, saying, “This recent grant from CPRIT will enable us to understand how tumor cells escape therapy with an antibody that is effective at treating neuroblastoma.”
Moreover, the grant will support the TTUHSC laboratory, providing the financial support to help the team analyze clinical samples from a variety of neuroblastoma patients in the U.S. and Canada while assessing the amount of antibody binding to individual patient tumor cells.
C. Patrick Reynolds, MD, PhD, director for the School of Medicine Cancer Center, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC); Dr. Reynolds, highly accomplished and engaged in research, is a University Distinguished Professor and directs the South Plains Cancer Consortium https://www.sponc.org/ as well as the Childhood Oncology Group Childhood Cancer Repository made possible by Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.