LLS Children's Initiative

Investing in breakthrough research

Children's Initiative Research

LLS Children's Initiative

Investing in breakthrough research

Through The LLS Children’s Initiative: Cures and Care for Children, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is committed to more than doubling our investment in pediatric cancer research.

LLS has a long history of supporting some of the most impactful research to advance lifesaving therapies for children with blood cancers. From revolutionary CAR T-cell immunotherapy, to leading-edge genomics to identify the drivers of pediatric blood cancers so we can overcome treatment resistance, LLS is leading the way.

LLS is committing $25 million to childhood cancer research over the next five years.

Supported Researchers

Here are some of the leaders in pediatic cancer we support today.

In children and young adults, acute myeloid leukemia (AML) accounts for 25 percent of leukemia cases but half of leukemia deaths. This is due to the inadequacy of tests for detecting microscopic amounts of residual AML cells still remaining after treatment, leading to relapsed disease to which most children (and adults) will ultimately succumb. Dr. Druley and his team are developing a methodology to accurately identify the mutations which will indicate residual disease.

Although Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is highly curable, children can develop serious complications years later as a result of treatment. One challenge with Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is that the microenvironment surrounding the cancer cells actually supports the cancer by allowing it to evade the immune system by suppressing the antitumor activity of T cells. LLS supports Dr. Dave’s efforts to change the tumor microenvironment and unleash the antitumor immune responses of killer T cells in patients with high-risk HL, with a goal of achieving long-lasting cures with fewer side effects than conventional chemotherapy.

Dr. Teachey seeks to improve care for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) by using the drug daratumumab, which is already approved for adults with myeloma or lymphoma. Teachey is focused particularly on T-cell ALL, which has an exceptionally poor prognosis. Teachey’s team is conducting lab studies to confirm the drug’s effectiveness against T-ALL and to understand why some patients are resistant to the drug. The next step will be to conduct clinical trials of daratumuamb in children with T-cell ALL.

A powerful new treatment, chimeric antigen receptor T-cell immunotherapy (CAR T-cell therapy) uses genetic engineering to reprogram the patient’s own immune T cells to find and kill cancer cells. However, CAR T-cell therapy can have severe and potentially lasting side effects. Dr. Savoldo is testing a drug that controls the life span and number of the engineered T cells, seeking to heighten the benefits of this lifesaving new treatment while mitigating the harmful side effects.

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