There is a critical need for new treatment options for children with relapsed and refractory solid tumors, and therapies directed against biologically relevant pathways are likely to be more effective with less toxicity. The goals of my clinical and translational research are to develop novel treatments and identify novel targets for therapies for children with solid tumors, in order to improve outcomes and to reduce the incidence and severity of the long-term side effects of current therapy. My primary laboratory projects include studies to better understand the pathways involved in the regulation of growth factor receptor trafficking and degradation in tumor cells and their role in tumor growth and treatment response in addition to studies to identify novel therapeutic targets and novel agents synergistic with established therapies.
We have identified several promising novel targeted agents that are effective against pediatric solid tumors, and we have translated many of these therapies into early phase clinical trials for children with relapsed and refractory solid tumors. We have also identified a number of pathways required for neuroblastoma tumor cell survival, and these studies are likely to identify treatment combinations using readily available drugs that can also be rapidly tested in clinical trials, leading to improved treatments, reduced relapse rates, and improved survival for children with all forms of cancer.
Our continued research looks to build on these findings through a better understanding of growth factor receptor trafficking and its link to chemotherapy responses and resistance to targeted therapies and through direct targeting of receptor trafficking as a unique approach to pediatric solid tumor therapy.