|Katie with Dr. Pollard (left) and Dr. Gardner (right)|
(Whenever I hear that name, I think, "detained during His Majesty's pleasure...in Broadmoor Asylum"* in England. I wonder if the founders of the exclusive club and gated community in Seattle had any idea about the name's "other" meaning...)
Anyway, last night's event was a warm, elegant, yet informal affair, filled with passionate advocates of pediatric cancer research and the local clinicians we support, who are doing fantastic work in the field. It was delightful to mingle with friends, acquaintances and familiar doctors, nurses and researchers, sharing news and memories.
The program was led by our friend Jeff Towne, co-founder of the Ben Towne Foundation, and moderated by Dr. Bruder Stapleton (one of my personal favorites in the administration of the hospital). The panel consisted of three researchers who are doing ground-breaking work in different areas of pediatric cancer (two of whom - Dr. Rebecca Gardner and Dr. Doug Hawkins - took care of Katie) and a parent-advocate. They answered questions, and shared their thoughts about their current projects and personal research goals.
We watched this video, which tells the story of one of the patients recently cured by T-cell therapy at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research in Seattle. Please take a few minutes to watch - it will inspire you!
One of the highlights of the evening, for me, was sitting with Dr. Julie Park (Katie's primary oncologist) and our friend Charlotte, who was my "date" for the evening, and sharing in a heartfelt discussion with them after the panel program ended.
Another highlight was returning home and checking my messages to find that yet another patient has been cured by T-cell therapy here in Seattle. That is the 11th patient cured, as far as I know!
And today, even more wonderful news: an immunotherapeutic clinical trial is has just opened, under Dr. Park's leadership, for pediatric patients with neuroblastoma. This awful solid tumor has a horrific treatment regimen and a dismal survival rate, but now, there is a new way to treat it - using the knowledge gained from the successes in Dr. Jensen's T-cell therapy trials. This is the cancer from which Ben Towne suffered and died, so it is particularly meaningful to have this clinical trial at the BTCCCR.
*quoted from A System of Medicine, Volume 8, edited by Thomas Clifford Allbutt, Sir Humphry Davy Rolleston