Research and Clinical Trials
The Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders participates in numerous research activities aimed at improved understanding and treatment of pediatric cancer and blood disorders. We offer clinical trials for virtually every type of cancer and blood disorder.
Helping Kids Live
Clinical trials represent the critical method by which children in San Diego with cancer are treated. This clinical trials effort has been spearheaded by the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), the largest cooperative group of its kind in the world. All hospitals that treat childhood cancer in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, plus several centers in Europe, are part of COG.
Clinical trials are critical because they help keep children alive. Here in the United States, there has been a 10 percent improvement each decade in the five-year cancer survival rate; today, this rate is 79 percent. With increased understanding of cancer and genes that may play a role, researchers hope to raise the percentage even higher.
Alliance with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and UC San Diego
On July 27, 2007, Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego formed an alliance with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego). The alliance focuses on the development of clinical, translational and basic research for childhood cancer, and several joint clinical trials and other research collaborations are now underway. Through our alliance with the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, Rady Children’s is part of a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center.
Neuroblastoma and Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium
Rady Children’s/UC San Diego is also one of the four founders of the Neuroblastoma and Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium, a group of children’s hospitals and universities dedicated to developing more effective therapies for the two childhood cancers. Since the consortium’s inception, William Roberts, M.D., Director of the Peckham Center and Division Chief, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Dept. of Pediatrics, UC San Diego, has served as the Rady Children’s/UC San Diego principal investigator.
Hyundai Hope On Wheels awards grants in various categories to researchers at eligible Children’s Oncology Group member institutions. The highly competitive grant programs are aimed at expanding the knowledge base of the disease and improving the standards of care.
In 2013, Dr. Donald Durden was presented with a Hyundai Hope On Wheels research grant to develop potent targeted therapies (PI-3 kinase inhibitors or dual PI-3 kinase/MEK inhibitors) for mycN- dependent pediatric malignancies, medulloblastoma and neuroblastoma. Once these drugs are developed, the Durden lab plans to test them in Phase I and 2 clinical trials.
In 2014, Dr. Tina Udaka, a fellow at the Peckham Center, received a Hyundai Young Investigator Clinical Award to pursue research on pediatric brain tumors. Read more.
In 2015, Rady Children’s received the Hyundai Scholar Award. The $250,000 grant will be used to fund research on acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common form of pediatric cancer.
In 2016, Dr. Sun Choo received a Hyundai Young Investigator Award. The $150,000 grant will be used to fund research on Ewing sarcoma.
Through research in the lab, our physician-scientists are making critical discoveries about pediatric cancers. They then work to translate these discoveries into treatments that can save lives.
Among these discoveries, Donald Durden, M.D., Ph.D., Director of Hematology/Oncology Research at Rady Children’s and Vice Chair of Research, Department of Pediatrics, UC San Diego, working with an Emory University researcher, identified a new marker for tumor growth in medulloblastoma that helps determine survival. The biomarker’s discovery also suggests new possibilities in developing targeted therapies.
More recently, the Durden laboratory, using mouse genetic models, identified a master control switch that regulates the process of metastasis. The discovery provides a new target for treating or preventing metastasis and has the potential to transform cancer therapeutics.
Dr. Durden has also developed a novel therapeutic agent for neuoblastoma, which is currently being tested in clinical trials. Learn more.
For detailed information on research activities of our team members, visit the UC San Diego Department of Pediatrics website.