Pediatric Oncology Disease Management Group Research

Cancer Disease Management Groups Pediatric Oncology Disease Management Group Research
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Pediatric Oncology Disease Management Group Research

The Pediatric Oncology Disease Management Group (DMG) at Perlmutter Cancer Center provides research-driven, family-centered, and highly personalized care to children, adolescents, and young adults with cancer. Our researchers are working to discover the origins of childhood tumors and the pathways that drive response and progression. Our goal is to use this knowledge to improve outcomes for pediatric patients.

Our experts include experienced and prominent pediatric oncologists and pediatric surgeons who have national recognition and special expertise in pediatric leukemias and central nervous system (CNS) tumors, as well as translational scientists whose research on pediatric malignancies is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Our members have extensive expertise in leukemia, lymphoma, CNS tumors, neurofibromatosis (NF)-related tumors, phase I clinical trials, solid tumors, sarcomas, and immunotherapy.

We offer many clinical trials for children, adolescents, and young adults with cancer, including cooperative and consortia studies, industry-sponsored studies, and investigator-initiated trials. These studies include phase 0, I, II, and III and pilot therapeutic trials, as well as nontherapeutic biology studies that cover the full spectrum of pediatric cancers.

Leaders in the Pediatric Oncology DMG hold key roles in clinical trials for the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), Neurofibromatosis Consortium, and the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium. We also lead investigator-initiated clinical trials, with a particular focus on leukemia and brain tumors. Our childhood leukemia research is supported by funding from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Hyundai Hope on Wheels, COG consortium grants, and by support from other extramural agencies.

Pediatric Oncology Research Leadership

Elizabeth A. Raetz, MD
Director, Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
KiDS of NYU Professor of Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics

Benjamin Cooper, MD
Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology

Pediatric Oncology Research Areas of Focus

Our pediatric oncology investigators treat children who have a wide range of malignancies, with a focus on treating some of the more challenging diseases, including childhood leukemia, neurofibromatosis, and neuro-oncologic conditions.

In basic and translational science, our researchers are studying the mechanisms of drug resistance in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the epigenetics of childhood cancer, cancer vaccines, targeted therapy for brain tumors, and NF1- and NF2-associated tumors.

Our clinical research focuses on COG trials, targeted therapies, and immunotherapy. Our priority clinical research and trials focus on several key areas, including the following:

  • tracking the rise and fall of subclones in pediatric leukemia
  • discovering genomic and epigenomic shifts in leukemia between diagnosis and relapse that drive drug resistance
  • understanding the unique biochemistry associated with the most common relapse-specific alterations in ALL to develop targeted therapy to eradicate emerging clones before relapse
  • identifying tumor-associated antigens on CNS tumors to target with peptide vaccines
  • developing a unique molecular and epigenetic stratification system for brain tumors and rare pediatric sarcomas
  • leading the international PENTEC effort to describe the incidence and risk factors associated with pediatric radiation myelopathy
  • targeting the MAP kinase pathway in pediatric gliomas and personalized approaches to childhood brain tumors

Investigators in our group have directed clinical trials that led to the use of high-dose methotrexate in high-risk ALL patients, as well as nelarabine and escalating methotrexate in T-ALL—now standards of care that have improved patient outcomes around the world. We have developed novel treatment protocols for relapsed leukemia and refined risk classification in ALL, changing the disease management for newly diagnosed patients. Our experts have also integrated steroid pretreatment into risk stratification for ALL and implemented the use of high-dose chemotherapy with autologous stem cell rescue for very young children who are newly diagnosed with malignant brain tumors to avoid or delay the use of irradiation.