As the holidays approach there is reason to rejoice! A handful of children, now 13 and counting, will have a leukemia-free Christmas this year thanks to you! Such a time of hope for a different future when it comes to children who will face cancer, a future that does not need to be measured in decades, but a future you are making happen now– for our children! Ben Towne Foundation, you have made this possible. Thank you!!
As we look forward to the New Year, 2015 will be monumental. The ENCIT (Engineered Neuroblastoma Cellular Immunotherapy) trial is up and running. We will be treating the first child with relapsed neuroblastoma shortly after New Years. Pins and needles. Unlike the leukemia work which was already half-baked when I returned to Seattle, the neuroblastoma work is very much at the starting line. There will be bumps in the road (as there was for the leukemia trials early on). This will take careful stepwise advancements. Please walk with us on the journey forward, there will be times to celebrate and times to rethink strategy in the face of setbacks. Main thing– we will not stop until be are across the goal line, a cure for neuroblastoma.
OK- staying with the X-mas thing…..in the workshop we have initial successes in making the Velcro T cell molecules for targeting brain tumors (medulloblastomas, ependymomas, and gliomas). The beauty of our target molecule is that it could work for sarcomas, osteosarcomas and Ewing’s sarcoma to be specific.
Looking forward, the momentum is huge! Seattle Children’s Research Institute is asking me, “How big can this be?”, the answer is “Really BIG!!!”. We are talking a new high-rise research center with a major expansion of T cell manufacturing space. That means more trials for more pediatric cancers. That means helping children throughout our region, helping children across the country, and children around the world.
To all of you that support Ben Towne Foundation, the happiest of holidays to you. You are a force of good in our world. Thank you.
Dr. Michael Jensen
Director, Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research