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The treatments that are the focus of the research, abbreviated as I-MIBG and MABG, selectively attack neuroblastoma tumors while minimizing injury to healthy tissues. Both projects take advantage of the fact that radiation therapy is known to effectively attack neuroblastoma cells, even when the disease recurs after a patient relapses. One such treatment, already in use at Children’s Hospital because it has shown success against high-risk forms of neuroblastoma, uses 131I-meta-iodobenzylguanidine, abbreviated as 131I-MIBG, to deliver radiation to tumors. The researchers will improve MIBG therapy by discovering how to customize the optimum radiation dose for each individual child. The second project focuses on creating a new drug for neuroblastoma to eventually supplant I-MIBG. The new treatment, meta-[211At] astatobenzylguanidine (211At-MABG), contains radioactive particles carrying a stronger punch than those in MIBG. Its advantage is that in addition to attacking bulk tumor masses as I-MIBG does, it can also kill isolated tumor cells.
“Physician-scientists within the Center for Childhood Cancer Research at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia are fully committed to establishing better treatments to ultimately eradicate the pain and suffering from childhood cancer. We are motivated each day by the children we treat, and are working toward the day when all children with cancer are cured,” said John M. Maris, M.D., chief, Division of Oncology and director, Center for Childhood Cancer Research at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “We are truly grateful to Soupy for Loopy for supporting our neuroblastoma research efforts.”
"Laura had each and every clinical trial that she was eligible for but we ran out of options. NO parent should ever hear those words, ‘there is nothing left to try,’” said Debra Sypek, of West Springfield, MA, Laura’s mother, Officer and Board member of the Soupy for Loopy Foundation, Inc. “The Soupy for Loopy Foundation was established to fund research that will lead to clinical trials and more treatment options for children with neuroblastoma. There is not enough funding for pediatric cancer in general, let alone neuroblastoma.”
Janice M. Visconti, Board Member of the foundation and mother of Jake Visconti from West Springfield who also received treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, feels her son’s quality of life was significantly improved at the facility. “I am so pleased to see that the funds are going to help subsidize such promising research. I learned firsthand the benefit of MIBG therapy in treating Neuroblastoma when my son Jake was treated at CHOP in 2001,” said Janice M. Visconti of West Springfield, MA, a member of the board of Soupy for Loopy Foundation. “Although he lost his four and-a-half-year battle in 2003, I truly believe that taking part in a study involving MIBG, not only gave us more time with Jake, but significantly improved his quality of life.”