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AACR Conference to Highlight Advances in Pediatric Cancer Research

MONTREAL: The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) will host Advances in Pediatric Cancer Research in Montreal, September 17-20, 2019. This conference will address the unique issues and challenges in investigating the biologic basis of childhood cancers and translating recent findings into new treatment approaches.

The conference organizers have identified four highly rated abstracts to be presented at the meeting that reflect the breadth of the field and may be of interest to the media:

Zhao Xun Feng, University of Ottawa, will present an abstract titled “Survivorship, vision and eye salvage following pars plana vitrectomy for residual active or recurrent retinoblastoma.”

Summary: This study investigated the safety and efficacy of a novel surgical approach, pars plana vitrectomy (PPV) and tumor endoresection, as an effective surgical treatment to salvage eyes with tumor resistant to chemotherapy, the current standard of care. Outcomes were reviewed in 227 children (247 eyes) for residual active tumor or recurrent tumor treated at 29 Chinese centers. The study found that PPV salvaged 80.7 percent of eyes with residual active tumor after primary chemotherapy or recurrent tumor after remission. The 5-year eye-specific survival was 96.3 percent, which the authors report as comparable to survivorship using other treatment modalities.

Vanessa Tyrrell, Children’s Cancer Institute, will present an abstract titled “Zero childhood cancer (ZERO): A comprehensive precision medicine platform for children with high-risk cancer.”

Summary: This study reports on the ZERO program, which combines comprehensive molecular profiling analysis, deep sequencing of a 386-gene panel, whole transcriptome (RNASeq), and DNA methylation profiling (Epic 850K array), with in vitro high-throughput drug screening and patient-derived xenograft drug efficacy testing; and has enrolled 213 patients so far. Of the first 21 patients who received a recommended therapy, 33 percent had a partial or complete response, 24 percent had stable disease, and 43 percent had progressive disease.

Tamara Lamprecht, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, will present an abstract titled “MECOM dysregulation is associated with poor outcome in pediatric therapy-related myeloid neoplasms.”

Summary: Therapy-related myeloid neoplasms (tMN) occur in children because of cytotoxic therapies and typically have a dismal prognosis. The study found that MECOM expression levels are predictive of a worse outcome in children with tMN (overall survival at 2 years in MECOM-high 12.5 percent vs. MECOM-low 40.6 percent; p<0.01). The authors report enhancer hijacking as a possible mechanism for high MECOM expression.

Johanna Theruvath, Stanford Cancer Center, will present an abstract titled “Locoregionally administered B7H3-targeting CAR T cells mediate potent antitumor effects in atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor.”

Summary: Atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors (ATRT) are highly malignant embryonal brain tumors arising in very young children. These tumors have poor prognosis. The authors evaluated the antitumor activity of B7-H3 CAR T cells in highly aggressive ATRT xenograft models and compared intracavitary (IT), intraventricular (ICV), and intravenous (IV) administration. The study shows that central nervous system (CNS)-delivered CAR T cells could cure ATRT xenografts and efficiently traffic from the CNS into the periphery to mediate long-term immune protection from disease recurrence in the CNS or in peripheral tissues.
The scientific cochairs are available as a resource to the media to discuss the latest research into cancer predisposition and surveillance, targeted therapeutics, and immunotherapy.Conference cochairs are:

  • Crystal L. Mackall, MD, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford
  • David Malkin, MD, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto
  • Stefan M. Pfister, MD, Hopp Children’s Cancer Center at the NCT Heidelberg (KiTZ) and German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg
  • Kimberly Stegmaier, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston

To schedule interviews with presenters or cochairs, please contact Rachel Salis-Silverman at rachel.silverman@aacr.org or 215-446-7159. Media can obtain complimentary registration by contacting communications@aacr.org.