CAC2 Childhood Cancer Community News Digest (November 29-December 5)

Assorted news from last week:

According to Jim Morris, investigative reporter for Public Health Watch, “for the foreseeable future, thousands of children will continue to be diagnosed with cancer each year and require treatment. But unless the drug-development process undergoes a significant transformation, they will remain a lower priority than adults.”

The FDA approves Rituximab Plus chemotherapy for pediatric patients (≥6 months to <18 years) with previously untreated, advanced stage, CD20-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), Burkitt lymphoma (BL), Burkitt-like lymphoma (BLL), or mature B-cell acute leukemia (B-AL).

“Mariah Forster Olson’s treatment for childhood cancer left her with a range of health problems, and a long list of prescriptions. Ms. Forster Olson, 42, takes 30 prescription drugs every month and about 50 pills a day, requiring weekly trips to the pharmacy.”  According to a NY Times article, patients like Forster Olson and the 2.5 million beneficiaries who spend more than $2,000 a year on their drugs, Medicare would pay all their costs above that amount if the Build Back Better bill were signed into law.

Dr. Victoria Forster, pediatric cancer researcher and freelance science writer, gave a virtual seminar entitled, “Patient involvement in research: How to effectively integrate patients, survivors, and caregivers into research teams,” to the Pediatric Oncology Branch(POB) on November 4th, 2021. Dr. Forster ended her talk to the POB with several key takeaway messages about childhood cancer research and survivorship: “No childhood cancer can be considered “cured” when the price of “cure” is so high; A plea to never settle and to always keep refining and innovating to find more effective and kinder treatments for children with cancer; All childhood cancer survivors carry a lifelong burden with them. We must work towards reducing that as much as possible.”

Thousands of residents in Houston, Texas are suing Union Pacific Railroad Company for contaminating their properties with highly hazardous creosote wood preservatives. One of these lawsuits comes from Latonya Payne, legal guardian of Corinthian Giles, a 13-year-old boy who died of leukemia after a five year battle with the disease. A recent report found that the community is in the midst of a childhood leukemia cancer cluster, with disease rates five times the national average.

Upcoming Webinars and Online Opportunities:

CAC2 member Mark Levine hosts a podcast called, “Help and Hope Happen Here” (available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts).  Access recent podcasts with CAC2 Members (and visit Help and Hope Happen Here for interviews with other CAC2 members and thought leaders from around the community):