September 27th, 2017: Solving Kids Cancer is a charity funded in 2007 by John London and Scott Kennedy, which operates internationally to find solutions and cures for childhood cancer. Both London and Kennedy have had a personal experience with childhood cancer, having each had a child affected by cancer. In their short lives both Penelope London and Hazen Kennedy with their bravery and love for life, brought their fathers to decide to invest their whole life in making sure no other child has to go through cancer by founding Solving Kids Cancer.
The charity is based on the believe that scientific research aimed at finding treatment for childhood cancer is underfunded and immediate help is needed in areas with significant gap of knowledge. The charity operations and efforts are directly driven by the needs of the patients and their families. Solving Kids Cancer believes that a different approach more rooted in the needs of children with cancer should be taken to find treatments. In this sense the charity operates in a way that is distinct from classical scientific research.
Unfortunately, it is well known that funds dedicated specifically to find treatments for childhood cancer are very limited and children affected by the disease have far too often had to turn to treatments designed and approved for adults. Solving Kids Cancer are continuously scouting through scientific literature, participating in conferences and workshops, and connecting with scientists all over the world that are involved in research projects that have the potential to find new treatments.
Through rigorous evaluation of the various research projects the charity identifies the ones that are meritorious of funding. Typically preclinical and clinical trials are funded by Solving Kids Cancer. The charity goes one step further ensuring that children become enrolled in clinical trials and that trials with the minimum number of enrolled children are approved. In addition, Solving Kids Cancer run fundraisers to support treatment for individual children.
Using this approach Solving Kids Cancer has funded cutting edge research over the years being among the first to promote the use of immune therapy and vaccines to treat certain types of cancers including neuroblastoma. In the 10 years the charity has been running, it has had already a tremendous impact in the field of childhood cancer. Among its accomplishments:
- It has repurposed an anti-parasitic drug (nifurtimox) for the treatment of neuroblastoma and medulloblastoma.
- It has introduced the use of the oncolytic vaccinnia virus to treat solid tumors in children. This type of virus is now being considered in combination therapy with next-generation immunotherapies for the treatment of tumors in adults as well.
- It has established the use of Natural Killer Cells donated by a parent and screened for anti tumor properties as a novel immunotherapic approach.
- It has initiated the first study to “discover and validate” cancer stem cells as a chemotherapy resistant type of tumor cell that is often responsible for relapse and progression of the disease.
- It has introduced the use of reengineered Herpes Simplex Virus as a new category of immunotherapy to treat high risk pediatric solid tumors. This strategy is now being used in combination with radiation and immune therapy to treat other types of tumors.
- It has introduced an improved T-cell CAR immunotherapy for neuroblastoma.
Solving Kids Cancer is also involved in advocacy actions. Recently the U.K. government had decided to deny access to dinituxebam, an FDA/EMA approved antibody treatment for neuroblastoma. The charity challenged the decision of the government which has now gone back to the drawing board on this decision. The families are hopeful that dinituxebam will remain available in the U.K. so that they won’t be forced to travel to another country like the USA to gain access to this treatment for their children.
We have previously published about Chloe Balloqui, a 5 years old girl, who has benefited from support from Solving Kids Cancer in her battle against neuroblastoma (see our articles published 6/6/2016, 6/26/2016 and 7/4/2016). After beating cancer, Chloe has received the vaccine in the USA and has been cancer free for almost 1 and a half years!
This year Solving Kids Cancer has marked the month of September, which is dedicated to childhood cancer awareness, with the “lace up for kids” campaign.
For each donation from August 15 till the end of September the charity is gifting gold shoe laces to raise awareness about childhood cancer. To make a contribution to the charity and to learn more about how you can help, visit their donation page.