Why does research give hope to children with cancer?

From the laboratory bench to the bedside

Dr Srdan Rogosic has always wanted to become a doctor. His decision to go specifically into paediatric haematology was inspired by the improved outcomes of childhood cancer survivors, which is a direct result of decades of research.
“Historically, over the last 40-50 years, we have seen significantly increased childhood cancer survival thanks to excellent multi-centric studies. We cannot stop looking for new ways to further improve these odds.”
By seeing this correlation between research and survival rates, Srdan was inspired to start working in childhood cancer research, in hope that his results would be translated from the laboratory bench to the bedside.

Past research and its impact

Dr Srdan Rogosic says that the era of smart drugs and specific targeted treatments like CAR-T cell therapy has a game-changing potential to affect the lives of children with cancer. CAR-T cell therapy is a type of immunotherapy that uses the body’s own immune system to find and kill cancer cells. Unlike chemotherapy, which typically attacks all fast growing cells, CAR-T cell therapy tries to only target cancer cells, leaving most healthy cells unaffected. CAR-T cell therapy has been particularly successful in treating children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Its success will hopefully mean that even more than 90% of children with ALL will now survive.

How research gives hope

Research so far has done an incredible job in improving survival rates for some cancer types, like acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, but for others, progress has been a bit slower. Dr Srdan Rogosic’s research project is focusing on children with acute myeloid leukaemia, whose prognosis isn’t as good, particularly if the disease comes back. Srdan is building on past success in CAR-T cell therapy and trying to find an equivalent for children with acute myeloid leukaemia.
“I hope we could give children who don’t respond to treatment or relapse after treatment a fighting chance. If we get good results from this research, I hope we will be able to translate it into clinical trials. My supervisor, Dr Sara Ghorashian, has an excellent track record in translating novel CAR-T cell therapies, including a new form of CAR-T cell therapy for ALL which was translated from bench to bedside in two years.”
Srdan’s project is funded by Children with Cancer UK, and the grant will help him finish his three year PhD project. Dr Srdan Rogosic’s research gives hope to children with acute myeloid leukaemia, who could potentially use a treatment like this in the future.
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