24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
Fax: (361)578-5500
Regular Hours: M-Fri 8am - 5pm
Every 3rd Thurs of the Month - Extended Hours Until 7 pm

Child & Adolescent Development: Overview
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News
U.S. Teachers Often Faced Harassment, Violence During Pandemic: PollOmicron Wave Had 5 Times as Many Small Kids Hospitalized Compared to DeltaSuicide Rate Is Spiking Upwards in Preadolescent ChildrenAHA News: Bystander CPR on Kids Differs by Race and EthnicityNew Malaria Treatment Gets First Approval for Use in ChildrenMental Health of America's Children Only Getting WorseTalking to Your Kids About the War in UkraineOdds for Mental Illness Rise in Kids After ConcussionPfizer Begins Trial of COVID Drug Paxlovid in Kids 6 to 17Pfizer Vaccine Much Less Potent in Kids Aged 5-11COVID Has Robbed 5.2 Million Children Worldwide of Parent, CaregiverNew Drug May Help Curb COVID-Linked Inflammatory Disorder in KidsPoll Finds Most Parents Would Use CBD to Treat a Child — Is That Wise?Does Your Child Have Asthma? Look for the SignsResearch May Help Focus Treatment for Kids With Cystic FibrosisSleepless Children Often Become Sleepless Adults: StudyA Healthy Mouth Could Be a Lifesaver for Kids With Heart ConditionsSeasonal Flu Shots Give Kids Broader Protection Against New StrainsU.S. Kids Still Dying From Toppling TVs, FurnitureKids With COVID-Linked MIS-C Have Long-Term SymptomsAHA News: Amid a National Mental Health Crisis For Kids, Here's How Parents Can HelpParents: What You Need to Know About Kids & COVID-19Getting Active Soon After Concussion May Aid Kids' RecoveryPfizer Asks FDA to Approve Its Vaccine for Youngest KidsThe 'Oreo Test' and Other Ways to Help Kids' Oral HealthPfizer Will Ask FDA to Approve Its COVID Vaccine for Kids Under 5Getting Your School-Age Child Into a Healthy Sleep RoutineGenes Could Help Drive Febrile Convulsions in KidsMore Than 1 Million U.S. Kids Diagnosed With COVID in Single WeekPandemic Especially Tough on Kids With ADHDBrain Implant for Adults With Epilepsy Can Help Kids, TooCOVID Can Affect Brains of Hospitalized KidsMany Kids Aren't Wearing Helmets While Sledding, Poll FindsMany Marijuana Vendors Aim Advertising at Kids: StudyHeart Function Rebounds for Kids With COVID-Linked MIS-CWhich Kids Are Most Vulnerable to Severe COVID-19?At-Home COVID Tests Accurate for Ki​ds: StudyCDC Study Shows Power of Flu Vaccine for KidsCOVID Hospitalizations Rising in Kids Too Young for VaccineNearly 600,000 U.S. Kids Had COVID Last WeekWhite House to Give Schools 10 Million Free COVID Tests Every MonthKids' Behavior Worsened With Remote Learning: StudyLater School Start Times Boost Parents' Health, TooUrban Air Pollution Drives Millions of Cases of Asthma in KidsCDC Backs Boosters for High-Risk Kids Aged 5-11, Shorter Time Between ShotsA Better Way to Correct Severe Scoliosis in Kids?Getting Your Child Their Vaccine?  Some Tips on Easing Needle FearsU.S. Hospitals Seeing Record Numbers of Young COVID PatientsSevere Illness in Children Brings Hardship for FamiliesReal-World Data Confirms Pfizer Vaccine Safe for Kids Ages 5-11
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Childhood Mental Disorders and Illnesses
Child Development & Parenting: Infants (0-2)
Child Development & Parenting: Early (3-7)

New Treatment Greatly Boosts Survival for Kids With a Rare, Aggressive Cancer

HealthDay News
by By Amy Norton HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Dec 10th 2021

new article illustration

FRIDAY, Dec. 10, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Children with the rare cancer neuroblastoma often succumb to the disease despite aggressive treatment. But researchers have found that adding an experimental antibody to that treatment, right off the bat, may improve their outlook.

Of 64 children treated with the antibody in a clinical trial, 74% were still alive and free of a recurrence three years later. That compares with historical rates of around 50% with conventional treatment alone.

The antibody, known as hu14.18K322A, remains experimental, and is not yet available as a treatment, said Dr. Wayne Furman, the lead researcher on the trial.

The Children's Oncology Group, a government-funded clinical trials group, is planning a larger study to test the tactic of early antibody therapy -- with either hu14.18K322A, or another drug, Furman said.

Neuroblastoma is a cancer that begins in immature nerve cells, and primarily affects babies and children younger than 5. Each year, about 800 children in the United States are diagnosed with the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.

Roughly half of them are diagnosed after the cancer has spread and is considered "high risk."

At that point, aggressive treatment is needed. The typical regimen starts with high-dose chemotherapy, followed by surgery to remove any remaining visible tumors. Next comes additional chemo, followed by a stem cell transplant to rebuild the immune system, and then radiation.

In more recent years, doctors have added another weapon to the end of that regimen: the monoclonal antibody drug dinutuximab. The drug latches onto GD2, a protein on the surface of many neuroblastoma cells. It's given along with certain immune system proteins, in the hopes of boosting the child's immune response to cancer cells that have survived the treatment onslaught.

Dinutuximab has made a difference: One trial found that after two years, 66% of children given the drug were recurrence-free, compared with 46% of those on standard treatment alone.

But dinutuximab has been given at the tail end of treatment, said Furman, an oncologist at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

That was based on the belief that giving it early, during the initial high-dose chemo, would zap its effectiveness -- because the chemo suppresses the immune system.

"But we've been learning more and more about the immune system," Furman said.

Studies of adults with certain cancers, for example, have found that combining antibody therapy with chemo -- a concept called chemoimmunotherapy -- improved patients' responses. And a recent Children's Oncology Group trial found that adding dinutuximab to chemo showed "significant anti-tumor activity" in children whose neuroblastoma had come back.

Furman's team reasoned that giving an anti-GD2 antibody straight away, instead of waiting, might do the same for children newly diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma.

Instead of dinutuximab, though, they used the experimental antibody, developed at St. Jude. It also targets GD2, but was designed to limit a primary side effect of dinutuximab: pain.

Children in the trial received six rounds of chemo, along with infusions of the antibody therapy. They then moved on to other standard treatments, including additional antibody infusions.

While the experimental antibody was designed to cause less pain, the children still needed infusions of opioid painkillers during treatment. Pain was the most common side effect tied to the antibody -- reported in 10% of treatment cycles.

After three years, 86% of the children were still alive, with 74% recurrence-free.

Furman said that in 30 years of treating kids with high-risk neuroblastoma, those are the best outcomes he has seen.

It is not clear whether all of those recurrence-free children are cured; it's possible the treatment delays recurrence in some, according to Furman. The hope, of course, is that the results hold up.

"This is a very important and provocative study building on recent advances with chemoimmunotherapy for children with relapsed neuroblastoma in the Children's Oncology Group," said Dr. John Maris, chair of neuroblastoma research at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Like Furman, he pointed to the COG trial that will test the approach in newly diagnosed children.

"If confirmed, chemoimmunotherapy would become standard therapy and hopefully, significant improve chances for cure of high-risk neuroblastoma," said Maris, who wasn't part of the research.

Furman said children in his study received the experimental antibody at a dose more than double the maximum approved dose of dinutuximab. It's unclear, he said, whether the children's outcomes are related to the higher dose, or because hu14.18K322A is "a better antibody."

The study -- published Dec. 6 in Journal of Clinical Oncology, was funded by federal and foundation grants. The experimental antibody is now owned by EMD Serono, a division of drug maker Merck.

More information

The American Cancer Society has a primer on neuroblastoma.

SOURCES: Wayne Furman, MD, oncologist, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tenn.; John Maris, MD, pediatric oncologist and chairman, neuroblastoma research, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; Journal of Clinical Oncology, online, Dec. 6, 2021