25% of all pediatric cancer patients are incurable, but just this week the FDA has approved a trial for all pediatric cancers that have no cure and the Van Andel Institute and Helen De Vos Children's Hospital are at the forefront of the study.
It focuses on personalized medicine.
Dr. Giselle Sholler, a pediatric cancer researcher at the Van Andel Institute says the study looks at each individual tumor to see the genetic make up, "We're not using experimental drugs we want to better understand the patient's cancer. Understand their gene mutations, understand their gene expression profile and rationally chose a therapy that will give a better quality of life because we're choosing a more targeted therapy and really better attacking their tumor."
15 hospitals around the country are participating in the study and while this will bring children from other areas to Grand Rapids for treatment it will also benefit children right here in West Michigan who need alternative cancer therapy, "Because we're expanding it out to all pediatric cancers the children at Helen De Vos if they don't respond to initial therapy will have this right here at home for them." says Sholler.
The study is being funded by a 1.5 million dollar grant from Dell and will enroll 50 patients.