The purpose of this study is to find the highest dose of the drug ipilimumab that can be given safely to children, teenagers, and young adults with solid tumors that persist despite standard therapy or for which no standard therapy exists. Researchers will see how the cancer responds to this drug, how the body handles ipilimumab, and how the immune system responds to this treatment. Ipilimumab is approved for treating advanced melanoma, but its use in this study is considered investigational.
Ipilimumab is an antibody against CTLA-4, a molecule that controls a part of the immune system by shutting it down. Researchers believe that one way cancers can escape the immune system could be through this shut-down mechanism. An antibody against CTLA-4 could stop it from turning off the immune system, and allow an immune reaction to continue. This immune reaction may help the body to destroy cancer cells.