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Department of Pediatric Oncology

  • The research goals of the Department of Pediatric Oncology are to promote basic laboratory research, translational investigation, and clinical studies to better understand and treat childhood cancers. Under the leadership of Scott A. Armstrong, MD, PhD, research across the continuum from laboratory research to clinical trials is contributing to the improvement of care for children with cancer with a particular emphasis on the development of new therapeutic approaches. In this setting, the Department also provides an exceptional training environment for basic and clinical researchers.

    Clinical Research

    Scott Armstrong, MD, PhD

    Through our combined program with Boston Children's Hospital — Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center — the Department is developing unique pediatric clinical trials to improve the treatment and care of children with cancer. The Department's clinical trials portfolio includes investigator-initiated, cooperative group, and company-sponsored trials for a variety of cancers at different stages of progression.

    Bridging Programs

    The Department of Pediatric Oncology has two bridging programs that are specifically designed to increase the pace at which new discoveries lead to new treatments. These programs bring together faculty with deep expertise in cancer genomics, chemical biology, drug discovery, cancer biology, and clinical trials. The overarching goal of the bridging programs is to develop new and more effective therapies for children with cancer. Our bridging programs are as follows:

    Precision Medicine
    • Using tumor-profiling techniques to genetically define patients' tumors and match them with targeted therapies
    • Linking basic discoveries emanating from departmental laboratory research and the Center for Pediatric Cancer Therapeutics to genetically-matched pediatric patients
    Center for Pediatric Cancer Therapeutics
    • Working closely with colleagues in the Dana-Farber Chemical Biology Program to identify new small molecules that target proteins relevant for childhood cancers
    • Developing experimental and computational tools to dissect the genetic and epigenetic determinants of pediatric cancers
    • Validating new therapeutic targets and drugs through in vivo pediatric models of disease, including patient-derived xenografts
    • Providing the preclinical datasets required for translation into the clinic

    Basic and Translational Research

    The Department's basic and translational research focus spans hematological malignancies, solid tumors, neuro-oncology, experimental therapeutics, and cancer biology. We have 15 independent research laboratories conducting research in the Department.