Lilah’s Fund has funded innovative, fast-track research primarily at the labs of Dr. David Kaplan and Dr. Meredith Irwin at SickKids in conjunction with our friends and partners at the James Fund. As a result of these efforts, Drs. Kaplan and Irwin, along with their colleague Sylvain Baruchel, have made significant strides in the past 9 years to better understand how the advanced forms of neuroblastoma operate and how best to treat them.
Perhaps the biggest discovery in the past few years has been the significance of the neuroblastoma “queen bee” cell, which we now understand must be eradicated in order to prevent the return of the cancer.
The next crucial development has been our understanding of the importance of personalized medicine protocols for childhood cancer patients and the ability to develop the best possible protocol after close analysis of tissue sample from the child’s tumour. According to the research, personalized medicine holds the key to improving survival rates and to giving the surviving kids the best possible quality of life.
Another significant advancement is the new MIBG treatment suite at SickKids, where children receive a new form of radioactive medicine that was previously only used for diagnostic purposes. A very generous donation from the Garron family enabled SickKids to build the MIBG treament suite and Lilah participated in its formal launch early on in 2014.
Pediatric cancer researchers now believe that understanding cancers of young children could also help to develop better cures for a broad range of adult cancers.