Pediatric Cancer Immunotherapy Program

Cutting edge therapies for children with relapsed tumors

Immunotherapy Program - Cutting edge therapies for children with relapsed tumors

The goal of our program is to offer cutting edge new therapies to children with relapsed tumors. These studies are designed to boost the immune response to fight cancer cells, and are specifically targeted for children with relapsed cancers. Some of our studies use a patient's or stem cell donors' blood cells to help stimulate an immune response to cancer proteins. Immunotherapy with a cancer vaccine can be combined with low doses of chemotherapy, which is used to enhance the expression of cancer proteins on tumor cells, thereby making them more likely to be killed by immune cells.

Our multidisciplinary team is here to walk you and your child through the process of participating in a clinical trial, and to coordinate your visits to the Medical Center for treatment. We are always available to answer your questions.

All cell therapy products used on our studies are grown at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and are tested for your child's safety prior to use. We will work with your hospital and primary doctor to coordinate the transfer of blood specimens to the Medical Center to grow the cells needed for the study. 

  • Program physicians: Robert Greiner, M.D.
  • Nurse Practitioner: Teresa Shapiro, N.P.
  • Study coordinator: Jeanette Gullett
  • Research Staff: Lei Bao, M.D., Ph.D. and Deepa Kolaseri, Ph.D.
  • Cell Therapy Lab: Joseph Mierski

Current Studies:

  • A Phase I Trial Combining Decitabine and Vaccine Therapy for Patients with Neuroblastoma - the purpose of this study is to give a chemotherapy drug called decitabine (DAC) to increase the expression of cancer proteins by tumor cells, and to then vaccinate children with relapsed neuroblastoma against these proteins.
  • Pharmacologic Upregulation of Cancer Testis Antigens Followed by Vaccine Therapy for Patients with Relapsed Acute Myelogenous Leukemia Following Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation (adult stem cell transplant patients) - the purpose of this study is to give decitabine to patients with relapsed AML after an allogeneic stem cell transplant, followed by a donor cell vaccine targeting the cancer proteins MAGE-A1, MAGE-A3, and NY-ESO-1.

For more information, please contact us at 717-531-6012.