The Neuroblastoma Program at Texas Children's Cancer Center will gather researchers and clinicians from across the country and Europe May 3-5 to present and discuss neuroblastoma studies that may be in such early stages that they haven't been published and validated.
Yet, sharing the hypotheses, methodology and early data among peers can reveal critical opportunities for their labs to collaborate and gather momentum, said Dr. Jason Shohet, who with
Drs. Jennifer Foster and Leonid Metelitsa co-chairs the Neuroblastoma Program at Texas Children's Cancer Center, which is part of Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
"We're flying people in from around the country and Europe, and they're very excited to be coming," Dr. Shohet said. "The costs of the meeting are supported by private donors, the Texas Children's Cancer Center (TXCH) and the Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation (CNCF). We are extremely grateful for all the support we have received."
CNCF founder Pat Tallungan and a few local families plan to attend; however, the conference is primarily an opportunity for the invited and local researchers to discuss ongoing basic, translational research, clinical research and late effects.
"It's critical to have the MDs and PhDs come together in one room," Dr. Shohet said. "Clinicians don't often have the chance to tell the researchers what kind of preclinical studies they need to support novel treatments. And the clinicians need to see how some of the innovative new approaches in basic research can contribute to clinical trial design."
The $5,000 that CNCF is contributing is made possible through Houston families' fundraising efforts, including the Amazing Grace Golf Classic, bake sales and lanyard sales.
"This conference is one example of the real difference our CNCF donors make in the fight against neuroblastoma," Tallungan said. "Bringing these great scientific minds together is our best hope for a cure."
The smaller conference is designed in part to keep communication flowing between the larger biannual conferences presented by the Advances in Neuroblastoma Research Association (ANRA). The next one of those is scheduled for 2018 in San Francisco. CNCF is forgoing its annual parent conference in 2017 and holding it, instead, at ANRA next year.
About the upcoming Houston conference Dr. Shohet said: "Could this be a Skype meeting? Maybe, but that's not the same. It's really great that all of these scientists are dedicating three days of their busy schedules to this. We hope to get a lot done just by providing venues for the group to interact."
They and we thank you for all you do to pave the way for the next breakthrough in the fight against neuroblastoma. Your support powers progress and saves lives.
To donate to this or other CNCF initiatives, visit cncfhope.org.