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Clinical Trial for Relapsed or Refractory Neuroblastoma

CCH Newsletter - Summer 2010

For many children with recurrent or refractory cancer, the best options for treatment come in the form of clinical trials. Clinical trials are how new treatments are tested for safety and to see if they will be effective.

MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital has opened a new clinical trial for patients with relapsed or refractory neuroblastoma. Since for many of these patients chemotherapy is no longer effective alone, MD Anderson pediatric oncologists are trying a different approach using immune cells to fight the cancer.

Everyone has a type of white blood cell, called natural killer cells, or NK cells. The job of an NK cell is to find an abnormal cell, a cell that’s infected with a virus or precancerous or cancer cell, seek it out and destroy it. Unfortunately for adults and children who have cancer, many times their immune system and their own NK cells can no longer recognize the cancer cells or kill them.

In this clinical trial, Children’s Cancer Hospital oncologists plan to use NK cells taken from someone else, a family member or other relative, and see if they can be used to help the immune system fight the cancer. Another medicine called interleukin 2 will also be given. Interleukin 2 helps the NK cells grow, make more copies of themselves, and activates them so that they are better at killing cancer cells.

The side effects from this trial can include fevers, chills, flu-like symptoms and low blood counts.

The principal investigator on this trial is Susan Kelly, M.D. To find out more about this clinical trial or any other trial at MD Anderson, or to speak with a pediatric oncologist about a child’s diagnosis, call the Patient Access Center for the Children’s Cancer Hospital at 713-792-5410 or call toll-free 888-543-2435.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center