Newswise — SEATTLE – June 12, 2018 – Seattle Children’s, with participating members Children’s National Health System, BC Children’s Hospital and Children's Hospital Los Angeles, has launched CureWorks, an international collaborative of leading academic children’s hospitals determined to accelerate the development of immunotherapy treatments for childhood cancer. CureWorks focuses on expanding immunotherapy trials and patient access around the world, as well as sharing data and collective expertise to advance novel cell therapies.
CureWorks was founded on the idea that in order to revolutionize treatment for pediatric cancer, academic institutions must work together to achieve better treatments and outcomes for children. As the founding member, Seattle Children’s is seeing promising results in its chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell immunotherapy trials, and has one of the largest pipelines of open clinical trials aimed at treating pediatric blood and solid tumor cancers that do not respond to standard therapy by harnessing the immune system.
Seattle Children’s strongly believes there is an opportunity to combine the strengths of multiple hospital researchers into this collaborative effort to expand the reach of pediatric immunotherapy cancer trials. CureWorks will not only increase the number of immunotherapy trial sites around the globe, it will also aim to quicken the pace of pediatric cancer discovery by diversifying and expanding the amount of data available to researchers through its scientific network.
“We believe a unified effort among leading children’s hospitals is the best way to drive the discovery of new therapies for pediatric cancer,” said Dr. Mike Jensen, executive director of CureWorks and director of the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children's Research Institute. “Our hope is that through this collaboration, we’ll be able to more quickly develop treatments with fewer side effects, better remission rates and, ultimately, enable more kids with cancer to grow up and realize their full potential.”
Member hospitals will have the option to participate in clinical trials offered through CureWorks, allowing their patients access to groundbreaking cancer immunotherapies in their own community. Once these trials are open at a CureWorks member hospital site, immune cells will be collected from the patient and sent to Seattle Children’s Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility. There, the T cells will be reprogrammed to express the CAR protein, enabling them to recognize and fight cancer. The newly engineered, cancer-fighting T cells will then be shipped back to the patient’s health care team for infusion. In addition to facilitating production of immunotherapy treatments, CureWorks will also streamline the clinical trial enrollment and coordination process for members.
“We are thrilled to be a part of this joint effort to fight childhood cancers with the latest research and cutting-edge cellular therapies,” said Dr. Catherine Bollard, MBChB, director of the Center for Cancer and Immunology Research at Children’s National Health System. “By expanding cancer immunotherapies developed at CureWorks institutions including Children’s National, we hope to increase patient access to life-saving novel therapies across the United States, while also accelerating the pace of pediatric cancer research.”
“The next advance for childhood cancer treatment is new immune therapies,” said Dr. Kirk Schultz, oncologist and director of the Michael Cuccione Childhood Cancer Research Program at BC Children’s Hospital and professor, Department of Pediatrics at the University of British Columbia. “CureWorks will give children in British Columbia access to cutting edge CAR T-cell therapy for leukemia and other childhood cancers.”
“CAR T-cell therapy has been called the single greatest therapeutic advance in childhood leukemia in a generation,” said Dr. Alan S. Wayne, director of the Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “Through CHLA’s partnership with CureWorks, we expect to speed the development of this important new therapy to provide more effective treatment for children and young adults afflicted with many types of cancer in the U.S. and around the globe.”
CureWorks members will also have access to new technology shared across the collaborative, and the ability to launch clinical trials at multiple clinical sites with support from Seattle Children’s GMP facility.
In recognizing that a larger network of hospitals will help fuel discovery, CureWorks is looking for other institutions to join in the commitment to expand access to these promising cures for children.
To learn more about becoming a participating institution, please visit the join us webpage.
To see the clinical trials being offered through CureWorks, please visit the clinical trial pipeline webpage.
About Seattle Children’s
Seattle Children’s mission is to provide hope, care and cures to help every child live the healthiest and most fulfilling life possible. Together, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Research Institute and Foundation deliver superior patient care, identify new discoveries and treatments through pediatric research, and raise funds to create better futures for patients.
Ranked as one of the top children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s serves as the pediatric and adolescent academic medical center for Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho – the largest region of any children’s hospital in the country. As one of the nation's top five pediatric research centers, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is internationally recognized for its work in neurosciences, immunology, cancer, infectious disease, injury prevention and much more. Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation works with the Seattle Children’s Guild Association, the largest all-volunteer fundraising network for any hospital in the country, to gather community support and raise funds for uncompensated care and research. Join Seattle Children’s bold initiative – It Starts With Yes: The Campaign for Seattle Children’s – to transform children’s health for generations to come. For more information, visit seattlechildrens.org or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or on our On the Pulse blog.
About Children’s National Health System
Children’s National Health System, based in Washington, D.C., has been serving the nation’s children since 1870. Children’s National is #1 for babies and ranked in every specialty evaluated by U.S. News & World Report and has been designated two times as a Magnet® hospital, a designation given to hospitals that demonstrate the highest standards of nursing and patient care delivery. This pediatric academic health system offers expert care through a convenient, community-based primary care network and specialty outpatient centers in the D.C. Metropolitan area including the Maryland suburbs and Northern Virginia. Home to the Children’s Research Institute and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, Children’s National is one of the nation’s top NIH-funded pediatric institutions. Children’s National is recognized for its expertise and innovation in pediatric care and as a strong voice for children through advocacy at the local, regional and national levels.
About BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute
BC Children's Hospital Research Institute conducts discovery, translational and clinical research to benefit the health of children and their families. We are supported by BC Children's Hospital Foundation; are part of BC Children’s Hospital and the Provincial Health Services Authority; and work in close partnership with the University of British Columbia. For more information, visit www.bcchr.ca or follow us on Twitter @BCCHResearch.
About Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Founded in 1901, Children's Hospital Los Angeles is ranked the top children’s hospital in California and sixth in the nation for clinical excellence with its selection to the prestigious U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll. CHLA also is designated a Magnet® institution for clinical and nursing excellence, an honor held by only 8% of U.S. hospitals. Clinical care is led by physicians who are faculty members of the Keck School of Medicine of USC through an affiliation dating from 1932. CHLA is home to The Saban Research Institute, one of the largest and most productive pediatric research facilities in the United States.