40% of all pediatric cancers are blood cancers and 60% of pediatric cancer survivors develop chronic health conditions due to the treatment they received. Multiple chemotherapy treatments are necessary to improve long-term survival rate. Some patients also receive a bone marrow transplant. Pediatric research and improvements have been slower than research and trial developments in adults.
“Children are not little adults and the ways that cancers behave in children, and how children respond to therapy are profoundly different.” Dramatic changes are happening in cancer treatment due to precision medicine (giving the right treatment to the right patient at the right time). Only four treatments have been developed for children in the last four decades.
Better treatment is the focus of PedAL Dare To Dream project, the next phase of the LLS (Leukemia and Lymphoma Society) Initiative. “LLS recognizes kids are different and their blood cancers need to be treated differently, so we are daring to change the paradigm of treatment and care of pediatric blood cancers. Our dream is to help as many children as possible get treatment for their cancer.”
The goal is a shift in the standard of care for children. Safe treatments will not cause as much harm to the child’s body as toxic chemotherapies that can leave patients with long-term health challenges. “The Dare to Dream Project recognizes that children are not just little adults, so their cancer treatment shouldn’t just be a downsized version of what’s available for adult patients. By tapping into medical advancements and exploring the promise of more tailored treatment, PedAL is advancing more effective, safer treatment options with fewer long-term side effects.”
The Dare To Dream project is seeking to raise $175 million over the next five years to support global, collaborative research and treatments for children’s blood cancers. There will be a PedAL Master Clinical Trial as well as a wide range of free education and one-on-one support services. Read inspiring pediatric stories here.
LLS is bringing together leaders in childhood leukemia to collaborate on a path to finding cures. PedAL will seek to identify the underlying drivers of disease and match patients to the most promising targeted therapy based on their own genetic makeup. The dream is to get the best treatment for each individual patient.
about the author
Lisa Foster is a mom of 3 daughters, a puzzle lover, writer and HealthTree advocate. She believes in the mission of the foundation and the team that builds it forward. She calls Houston, Texas home.