I am a pediatric oncologist who specializes in immunologic approaches for the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric cancers. My main focus is the treatment of neuroblastoma, a tumor that arises from primitive cells of the sympathetic nervous system and that primarily affects young children.
My colleagues and I have developed multi-modality therapies, which include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, isotretinoin (a vitamin A derivative), and more importantly, targeted therapy with monoclonal antibodies. These treatment strategies have dramatically improved the survival for our patients with metastatic neuroblastoma. Today, more than 50 percent of these patients treated at Memorial Sloan-Kettering survive the disease, compared to fewer than 5 percent in the 1980s. In fact, immunotherapy has now become the standard of care for patients with metastatic neuroblastoma. Moreover, localized neuroblastoma is curable today, and many patients with can be treated effectively with surgery alone.