Viral Therapy: Giving Cancer a Cold
Every 40 minutes in the United States, a new child is diagnosed with cancer. That means during your lunch break, one or two families were devastated. As the chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, I am determined to make a difference for those families.
Children who undergo traditional therapies for cancer often receive aggressive chemotherapy treatments, which can lead to long-term side effects, including growth, cognitive and developmental abnormalities. Nationwide Children’s Hospital is doing state-of-the-art research, both in the laboratory and the clinic, on par with anywhere else in the world. My research involves biologic warfare against cancer, with the use of viral therapies. Researchers manipulate the virus in the lab, infecting and killing cancer cells with the virus. The patient is left with side effects no more severe than brief, flu-like symptoms. Nationwide Children’s will begin clinical trials soon to study the use of these virus therapies in children with cancer.
Only three percent of cancer research funding from the National Institutes of Health is dedicated to childhood cancer research. The need for private donations is great, and Nationwide Children’s is dependent on generous donations from private citizens to continue the important work of viral therapy research.
That to me is sacred money. That’s hard-earned money that folks are giving out of their back pocket. Nationwide Children’s is a good steward of those dollars, spending it only on the most promising science that is going to lead to the most significant advances in treatments for childhood cancer.