Pediatric Cancer Research
Forty years ago, a diagnosis of cancer for a child was seen as a death sentence, even within the medical community. Very few treatments were actually tried and those that were used were often toxic to the patient. It was a rare case when the cancer went into "remission", and the cancer would often return a short time later. Even as recently as the late 1970s, treatments could prolong a child's life, but there wasn't much optimism about the outcome. The word "cure" wasn't be used at all.
Today, however, is a much different story. Eighty percent of children with cancer are now cured and they frequently go on to live healthy, productive lives. Research, more than any other factor, has been the key to this progress. Through a coordinated research effort across institutions, organized under the Children's Oncology Group (COG), researchers have developed a deeper understanding of cancer. This has lead to the development of more effective drugs and treatment plans tailored to the individual. And research is continuing to make great strides each year.
Today, more than 40,000 children are being treated with protocols developed through research conducted by COG institutions. The University of Wisconsin Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant program, a member of COG, has made tremendous contributions to the understanding and treatment of childhood cancers.
Childhood Cancer Treatment at American Family Children's Hospital
NT Shahidi, MD, (pictured at right) became head of UW's Pediatric Oncology Division in the mid-1960's. In that time, UW was one of the first institutions to join the Childhood Cancer Group, a predecessor of COG.
During Dr. Shahidi's tenure, the Pediatric Oncology division became a leader in cancer research and care. Among the advances was the first successful pediatric bone marrow transplant conducted by Fritz Bach, MD in 1969.
Since 1990, Paul Sondel, MD has led the division and it has remained on the leading edge of treating childhood cancer.
Our Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow staff encompasses a wide range of expertise, with subspecialty clinics in neuro-oncology, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and hemophilia. Diverse research interests include, but are not limited to, examining newer ways to use bone marrow to treat cancer; using white blood cells to recognize and destroy cancers; the longterm effects of childhood cancer treatments and palliative care.
Each year, approximately 100 new patients are treated for childhood cancer at American Family Children's Hospital and a total of nearly 600 children are treated annually.
Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant at American Family Children's Hospital is a leader in providing treatment for infants, children and adolescents with cancer and hematological disorders from across the Midwest. In 2008, the program will become one of five centers in the nation to provide MIBG treatment for children with neuroblastoma. Ongoing research continues to lead to better treatments and improved therapies. And American Family Children's Hospital will continue to be at the forefront.
The Mission of the UW Health Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant Program
The mission of the Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant Program is:
- To provide innovative, comprehensive, and compassionate family centered clinical care to current and future patients at UW.
- Excellence in clinical care is dependent upon research and teaching and requires their complete integration through all aspects of this program.