Dr. Link on the Current State of Treatment For Pediatric Cancer

Michael Link, MD
Published: Monday, Oct 08, 2018



Michael Link, MD, professor, Pediatrics, Stanford Cancer Institute, and a 2018 Giant of Cancer Care® in Pediatric Oncology discusses the current paradigm for treatment in pediatric cancer.

There are several unmet needs in this space, Link says. Brain tumors and central nervous system malignancies are an area where answers are still needed. Patients with metastatic solid tumors are still resistant to therapy and very difficult to cure. Neuroblastoma, a common solid tumor in toddlers, has not seen the needle move far despite very intensive treatment strategies. There is still a long way to go in these settings.

Some of the more exciting recent developments, Link says, are with immunotherapy and chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy. The fact that it is possible to manipulate and genetically engineer a patient’s own immune system has resulted in dramatically improved outcomes. This has been particularly effective in recurrent leukemia. A common strategy in pediatric cancer has been to find a successful therapy in relapsed disease and move it to an earlier setting, Link adds.
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Michael Link, MD, professor, Pediatrics, Stanford Cancer Institute, and a 2018 Giant of Cancer Care® in Pediatric Oncology discusses the current paradigm for treatment in pediatric cancer.

There are several unmet needs in this space, Link says. Brain tumors and central nervous system malignancies are an area where answers are still needed. Patients with metastatic solid tumors are still resistant to therapy and very difficult to cure. Neuroblastoma, a common solid tumor in toddlers, has not seen the needle move far despite very intensive treatment strategies. There is still a long way to go in these settings.

Some of the more exciting recent developments, Link says, are with immunotherapy and chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy. The fact that it is possible to manipulate and genetically engineer a patient’s own immune system has resulted in dramatically improved outcomes. This has been particularly effective in recurrent leukemia. A common strategy in pediatric cancer has been to find a successful therapy in relapsed disease and move it to an earlier setting, Link adds.

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