Texas Children's Hospital hematologists/oncologists shared latest research findings at American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology national meeting

HOUSTON - (June 3, 2014) - Physicians and researchers from Texas Children's Cancer and Hematology Centers in Houston served as presenters and moderators during the annual meeting for the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (ASPHO) held May 14 through 17, in Chicago. ASPHO allows leaders in the pediatric hematology/oncology field to learn about emerging therapies and research and includes an exceptional selection of 11 symposia and 12 workshops designed to highlight current science, clinical updates and contemporary controversies.

Eleven hematologists/oncologists, a clinical psychologist and one pediatric nurse practitioner from Texas Children's Hospital participated in the various symposiums held throughout the four-day conference including:

  • Dr. Will Parsons, pediatric oncologist at Texas Children's Cancer Center and assistant professor of pediatrics - oncology at Baylor College of Medicine, moderated a session on personalized care for pediatric brain tumors, focusing on the use of genomic technologies in clinical trials for children with these cancers. His session highlighted new insights into the genetics and biology of pediatric brain tumors, combined with the development of novel molecularly targeted cancer therapeutics, offering the promise of personalized cancer care for pediatric neuro-oncology patients.
  • Dr. Ernest Fruge, director of the psychosocial programs at Texas Children's Cancer and Hematology Centers and professor of pediatrics - hematology/oncology at Baylor, co-led a workshop titled "Defining and Managing Career Challenges for Mid-Career and Senior Stage Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologists" and facilitated the second annual meeting of ASPHO's Diversity Special Interest Group which supports the advancement of women and minorities in the field of pediatric hematology/oncology.
  • Dr. Meenakshi Hegde, pediatric oncologist at Texas Children's Cancer Center and assistant professor of pediatrics - hematology/oncology at Baylor, received the Young Investigator Award for her research titled "Genetically modified T cells simultaneously target HER2 AND GD2 to enhance the control of osteosarcoma." Hegde shared her findings that the simultaneous targeting of two or more antigens enhance the function of adoptively transferred T-cells by enabling them to specifically recognize and eliminate tumor cells that would have otherwise escaped recognition by T-cells with single specificity, potentially improving tumor control and decreasing the risk of recurrence.
  • Dr. Peter Zage, oncologist at Texas Children's Cancer Center and assistant professor of pediatrics - oncology at Baylor, presented "The Role of FGFR4 in Neuroblastoma," and "The Role of UBE4B and Growth Factor Receptor Trafficking in Neuroblastoma," describing how the FGFR4 gene affects neuroblastoma patients' response to therapy and outcomes. Zage also presented a study in which reduced UBE4B expression in neuroblastoma tumors was associated with a lack of differentiation in neuroblastoma tumors.

The American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (ASPHO) is a multidisciplinary organization dedicated to promoting optimal care of children and adolescents with blood disorders and cancer by advancing research, education, treatment and professional practice. ASPHO was founded in 1981 and currently has more than 1,800 members. ASPHO offers a forum for the exchange of ideas on issues of special interest and concern to people in the specialty, as well as a means for facilitating communication among members. ASPHO is the only professional organization dedicated solely to the professional development and interest of subspecialists in pediatric hematology/oncology.

About Texas Children’s Hospital

Texas Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas, and among the top in the nation, Texas Children’s has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women’s health. The hospital includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; the Feigin Center for pediatric research; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, a second community hospital planned to open in 2017. The organization also created the nation’s first HMO for children, has the largest pediatric primary care network in the country and a global health program that’s channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, go to www.texaschildrens.org. Get the latest news by visiting the online newsroom and Twitter at twitter.com/texaschildrens.