Research & Innovation
Researchers at the Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Center (DF/CHCC) Kidney Tumor Program conduct laboratory and clinical research designed to improve understanding and treatment of pediatric kidney tumors. We offer clinical trials through the Children’s Oncology Group. Here are some of the things we’ve been working on:
Identifying the best treatment for Wilms’ tumor
Major advancements have occurred in treatment of Wilms’ tumor over the last two decades, primarily because of studies by the National Wilms' Tumor Study Group, of which Boston Children's Hospital was a member. These studies have rigorously compared treatment regimens, and helped define the right treatment for each stage and type of Wilms tumor. In one large study, it was shown for low-stage Wilms tumor that briefer courses of therapy were safer and as effective as longer courses.
Risk-stratifying treatment of children with bilateral tumors
The traditional treatment for pediatric kidney tumors is a two-step process: Surgeons remove as much of the tumor as possible, then oncologists use chemotherapy to kill remaining cancerous cells. If the tumor is bilateral, appearing in both kidneys, chemotherapy is sometimes also used before surgery to reduce the size of the tumor. Our researchers are investigating the use of continuous pathological review throughout treatment to evaluate the best therapeutic approach for bilateral pediatric kidney tumors.
Searching for markers
Researchers are conducting studies to better understand how to diagnose and treat renal tumors. For example, researchers at our center are investigating whether kidney tumors emit markers in a child’s urine. If discovered, these markers could be used to screen for early recurrence of relapsed cancers. They may also help clinicians screen types of tumors up front, so treatments are personalized to the exact make up of a child’s tumor.
Treating rhabdoid tumors
Elizabeth Mullen, MD, director of the Kidney Tumor Program, is involved in a Children’s Oncology Group working group for rhabdoid tumors that reaches across disease groups (brain and spinal tumors, kidney tumors and rare tumors) and disciplines. Although rhabdoid tumors were once thought to be a type of Wilms’ tumor, they are now considered to be a separate category altogether. This national initiative is being led by Susan Chi, MD, from our Pediatric Brain Tumor and Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, MD from our Bone and Soft Tissue Tumor Program. Dr Charles Roberts, MD, PhD, is Children’s lead investigator in basic science research in the area of rhabdoid tumors.
Find out more about the innovative clinical trials available at the Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center .
Children speak: What’s it like to be a medical research subject?