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Neuroblastoma

We believe that the only way to conquer this extremely aggressive childhood cancer is to give it a name.

Cancer is a word everyone knows, and a word no one wants to hear. Certain cancers are common household names. Most people have heard of leukemia, breast cancer, and prostate cancer. Neuroblastoma, on the other hand, is mysterious to many. Wade's Army wants to create that awareness for neuroblastoma and provide directly to clinical trials and families battling neuroblastoma.

We believe that the only way to conquer this extremely aggressive childhood cancer is to give it a name. We must make people-beyond the medical community and those of us who have suffered in its wake-realize it actually exists.

Neuroblastoma represents approximately 7% of pediatric malignancies but it is responsible for 10-15% of childhood cancer-related mortality. Neuroblastoma is a tumor derived from immature nerve cells (originating from the neural crest). The average patient age is approximately 23 months but the disease can affect children under 6 months or rarely children over 5 years of age. Even unborn infants can be diagnosed with Neuroblastoma.

Neuroblastoma belongs to a group of cancers called ‘small round blue cell tumors’. It means that under the microscope the tumor has the appearance of small primitive cells exhibiting minimal differentiation. The tumor often forms structures that look like early fetal neural/nerve tissue rather than any mature adult tissue. A pathologist will see something like the attached picture when diagnosing this tumor - sheets of blue cells.

A few decades or so ago Neuroblastoma was a death sentence. Now cure is possible. Surgery, chemotherapy, stem cell rescue/transplants, radiotherapy and immunotherapy can be all be part of the treatment regime.

We have also entered the golden age of “molecular” or “targeted” therapy. These new treatments attempt to target only the Neuroblastoma cancer cells that contain unique tumor proteins, rather than chemotherapy, which essentially damages all fast growing cells (including normal healthy tissue). The antibody drugs bind to molecules on the tumor cell surface and help the body’s natural immune system recognize the malignant cells and destroy them.

Although these targeted treatments offer new hope, they are only in early trial phases and further clinical development is required. The current treatment regime for most tumors remains intensive - aggressive treatment for an aggressive cancer. Please remember these are 2 year olds doing the fighting.

So we need your help. Donate to Wade’s Army to support patients and their families through this battle and also help researchers undertake early phase medical trials to explore new targeted treatments (MATCH-NB trials) to destroy these small round blue cells.

Learn about the Phase I Clinical Trials your contributions have helped fund and join the fight as we fundraise to begin our fifth Phase I Clinical Trial.

 
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Project 1

Phase 1 trial of hu14.18-IL2 and Donor Natural Killer (NK) cells in children with relapsed/refractory neuroblastoma.

  • Exciting advances have been made in combination immunotherapy approaches and have shown potential for safe and effective treatment of neuroblastoma.
  • Natural killer (NK) cells are potent anti-cancer attacking immune cells that we all have in our own bodies
  • This study combines NK cells harvested from the child’s parent with the humanized antibody hu14.18-IL2 in a long term continuous infusion which is less toxic and more effective. The addition of this antibody stimulates the NK cells to be more effective against disease.
  • This research project that you all helped us to fund is the first study ever to combine these two immunotherapies in one trial to treat neuroblastoma!
  • This incredibly innovative approach to combating neuroblastoma wasn’t an option for Wade because it simply wasn’t available yet – but thanks to the donations you have made in his memory, children just like Wade will have the chance to receive this therapy as of 2015.

project 2

2014 donations funded a NEPENTHE trial which opened in July 2016. This trial you can actually follow the listing and watch its progress throughout the next 20 years HERE.

83 children will be receiving treatment that would not have otherwise been given this opportunity without the support of Wade’s Army! 

The purpose of this research study is to match genomic aberrations in tumor cells at time of relapse to rationally designed combinations of molecularly targeted agents. This study will be done in two parts:

Part I: Tumor will be accessed at study entry via a biopsy and subjected to deep sequencing to identify protocol-specified biomarkers for therapy assignment.

Part II: If the tumor contains a genetic change defined by the study as being actionable, and other criteria are met, participants will be assigned to therapy based upon the genetic changes identified in the tumor biopsy.

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project 3

Wade’s Army supported the efforts of former NFL player Devon Still and his efforts expand Neuroblastoma research at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center where Wade was treated.  Treatment at CCHMC focuses on new approaches to targeting and killing neuroblastoma cells through advanced therapies.


project 4

We have committed $25,000 more to hu14.18-IL2 + NK cell trial, an expansion of our first trial listed above. This is a high profile trial that should result in the approval of the 4th drug for pediatric cancer in 30 years ALK inhibitor PF3922 is proving to be very effective and low toxicity.

We are just getting started at Wade’s Army, and we need your continued support. More and more children are being diagnosed with this horrific disease each day, and we need a cure. Join the fight against neuroblastoma and help us find a cure and ease the emotional and financial burden of families currently in the fight.

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project 5

Wade's Army collaborated to fund the Phase 1 Study of Lorlatinib (PF-06463922), an Oral Small Molecule Inhibitor of ALK/ROS1, for Patients With ALK-Driven Relapsed or Refractory Neuroblastoma. 

Lorlatinib is a novel inhibitor across ALK variants, including those resistant to crizotinib. In this first pediatric phase 1 trial of lorlatinib, the drug will be utilized as a single agent and in combination with chemotherapy in patients with relapsed/refractory neuroblastoma.

Find more information and follow this Clinical Trial here, the first child receiving treatment begins Weds, Sept. 6, 2017.