Pediatric Cancer

Program Leadership

Daniel Wechsler, MD, PhD
Director

Program Overview

Although pediatric cancers are less common than adult malignancies, the impact of cancer on children and their families is nothing short of devastating.

Over the past 40 years, cooperative research efforts (primarily through the Children’s Oncology Group) have resulted in dramatic increases in cure rates for most pediatric cancers.

Nevertheless, substantial numbers of children with cancer still succumb to their disease, and even larger numbers of pediatric patients suffer significant long-term late effects because of the intensity of the therapies required to achieve cure. Research into the pathophysiologic mechanisms underlying pediatric tumors is essential to develop novel therapeutic approaches that will yield higher rates of cure and fewer side effects.

Duke investigators have a strong history of involvement in both clinical and basic research arenas and have contributed to cutting-edge advances in both understanding and treating a variety of pediatric tumors. The Pediatric Cancer Program encompasses logical intersections with DCI disease-based programs in Brain Tumor (incorporating neuroblastoma), Hematologic Malignancies, and Sarcoma. The program includes:

  • A group of basic investigators interested in understanding childhood cancers (using approaches ranging from genomics to animal models to preclinical testing) and committed to advancing treatment of patients with these disease
  • A group of clinicians who treat children with cancer who work with basic scientists to facilitate access to samples and also to challenge them to focus on the most relevant and important clinical problems 
  • Members of the Pediatric Cancer Program have nationally recognized expertise in studying the pathogenesis of and participating in cutting edge clinical trials focused on treating a number of pediatric malignancies:
    • Pediatric brain tumors
    • Rhabdomyosarcoma
    • Neuroblastoma
    • Acute leukemia

Through these collaborative efforts, the program will contribute to further improving our understanding of how pediatric cancers arise, and developing new treatment paradigms that will lead to higher cure rates and less morbidity.

Additional Contacts

Kristen Blackman, Administrative Director 
Phone: 919.688.0970

Wendy Bloomer, Assistant Research Practice Manager 
Phone: 919.668.6716

 

PEDIATRIC BRAIN TUMOR 

Christina Cone, Administrative Director
Phone: 9191.684.5301

Susan Boulton, Assistant Research Practice Manager
Phone: 919.668.0896

Clinical Trials

Make An Appointment

To make an appointment, please call 888.275.3853. For more information on pediatric cancer care at Duke Health, visit Duke Children's. To find a doctor, visit Find A Specialist.

Related News

Four-Year-Old Rings In A New Start

Vanessa Burnette, who recently finished 18 grueling months of treatment for stage 4 neuroblastoma, was the first oncology patient at Duke Children’s Hospital and Health Center to ring the End of Treatment Bell donated by the Optimist Club of Chapel Hill. “We’re pleased to have our very own End of Treatment Bell for our pediatric cancer patients,” said Daniel S. Wechsler, MD, PhD, chief, Pediatric Hematology-Oncology. More