A year ago at our benefit 2013 for pediatric cancer research Dr. Jensen showed us this video. The first time I saw it my heart literally broke open and my eyes burned with tears. Watching T cells destroy neuroblastoma before my eyes was perhaps simultaneously the most difficult and rewarding thing I have witnessed as Ben’s Mom since we launched Ben Towne Foundation.

Obviously we wished this technology and research had been available in time for our son. But because of your incredible generosity this past year, it will now be available for other children. In case you missed this announcement on Friday, I wanted to post it here on the blog as well:

The first clinical trial application from the Ben Towne Center using reprogrammed T cells for the treatment of children with neuroblastoma was authorized by the FDA for patient enrollment.

This trial, called ENCIT (Engineered Neuroblastoma Cellular Immunotherapy)-01, is a Phase I first-in-child trial for children with relapsed or treatment unresponsive neuroblastoma.

As I said at the benefit, this fall there will be a family just like ours – a family whose child has neuroblastoma and relapses in the same season of time that Ben did. A family that will have subjected their child to chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. A family that will have taken their child to the brink of death with transplant only to hear the words, “I’m so sorry. After all of that – it didn’t work.” BUT, there is a new clinical trial opening at Seattle Children’s and you should go.”

So today we offer up immense gratitude for the opening of this Phase 1 clinical trial. This is not the end of neuroblastoma by any means. But I believe it is the beginning of the end. We have so many people to thank for making this milestone possible: Dr. Park, Dr. Kuenkele, Dr. Jensen and the entire team at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. And of course you. Your generosity and support of the pre-clinical trial research this past year has made this milestone possible.

And for that, we are so grateful. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

With Love, Gratitude and Appreciation,

Ben’s Mom