When a child is diagnosed with cancer, their family is presented with treatment options – often a combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Radiation and chemotherapy have been used to treat kids’ cancers for more than 50 years and often come with long-term late effects including secondary cancers, heart damage and cognitive issues. Often a child’s best chance at survival is a clinical trial which offers them the newest treatment options available.
In recognition of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation will highlight the critical need to fund lifesaving research and share stories of kids affected by cancer – like Micah, who is alive today because there was a clinical trial available.
In March 2012, when Micah was one day shy of 15 months old, an initial diagnosis of pneumonia led to the discovery of high-risk neuroblastoma. Doctors found tumor activity in his abdomen, chest, arm and leg bones, and his bone marrow. Since his initial diagnosis, Micah has relapsed twice and participated in five clinical trials, including a St. Baldrick’s-funded trial for Unituxin.
“As the largest charitable funder of childhood cancer research grants, St. Baldrick’s is proud to fund every stage of the research process, from basic research in the lab to clinical trials with patients,” said Kathleen Ruddy, CEO of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. “While fewer than 5 percent of adults with cancer are enrolled on a clinical trial, more than half of childhood cancer patients are. Through a yearly multimillion-dollar grant to the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) and other research grants, St. Baldrick’s is proud to have supported more than 250 clinical trials involving more than 100,000 patients.”
The average cost for a COG institution to treat a child on a clinical trial is $10,000. The U.S. National Cancer Institute reimburses $2,250 per patient, and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation adds another $1,000. Because of this support, more kids have access to clinical trials and can be treated closer to home.
One of the biggest breakthroughs to come out of clinical trials in recent years was the first gene therapy approved by the FDA in the U.S. The treatment, called Kymriah, is saving the lives of children with some types of leukemia. This work was supported by the St. Baldrick’s – Stand Up to Cancer Pediatric Cancer Dream Team.
Give kids with cancer more treatment options. Join St. Baldrick’s this September and support the most promising research through one or more of the activities below:
- Make a donation: Donate to help kids like Micah live long, healthy lives.
- Participate in or Start an Event: Search for an event near you or start your own. Do you attend or work at a college? You can join St. Baldrick’s Battle of the Bald and be the university to raise the most money for childhood cancer research.
- Get Social: Follow St. Baldrick’s on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and like and share our content using the hashtag #StBaldricks.