I am a pediatric oncologist whose specialty is neuroblastoma. We’ve made significant progress in improving the outlook for many children newly diagnosed with this challenging disease, and we are now able to achieve the best cure rates. For those whose disease returns, we are devising new approaches that are showing encouraging results.
I feel privileged to work as part of a team that sees more patients with neuroblastoma than virtually any other institution. Our exposure to so many patients from so many varied backgrounds and parts of the world affords us an extraordinary amount of experience and knowledge that we draw on each time we meet a new patient. Our team discusses each patient’s unique situation and tailors an individualized plan of care with the greatest chance of success.
My colleagues and I are working to find better treatments for this disease. As one of our major efforts, we are researching ways to direct a patient’s own immune system to attack the neuroblastoma. I am leading several clinical trials assessing these new immunotherapies in patients with high-risk forms of this cancer.
We have also learned that in some cases, neuroblastoma disappears on its own, with little or no treatment. We are identifying factors that may predict which patients will experience such spontaneous regression and which patients require more intensive therapy. In addition to patient care and research, I teach fellows and residents.
It is awe-inspiring to see young adults trying to maintain their normal lives while going through cancer treatment. The parents of our patients are also an inspiration; anything we can do for them as doctors and friends is well worth the effort.
I have been running in the New York City Marathon each year since 1996 as part of Fred’s Team, an organization of runners who raise funds to support cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. During the most challenging parts of the marathon — including mile 17, on First Avenue in front of Memorial Sloan Kettering — I focus on the children and young adults we treat and how hard they fight for their lives, and I realize that what I am going through at these points in the race is nothing compared to what they are enduring. As we pass the patients at mile 17, it is so exciting to high-five the kids and families who come out to watch us and stop for a hug.
- Clinical Expertise: Pediatric Oncology; Neuroblastoma and Other Neuroectodermal Tumors; Immunotherapy; Autologous Bone Marrow Transplantation
- Languages Spoken: English
- Education: MD, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
- Residencies: Babies Hospital, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center; The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center
- Fellowships: Children's Hospital Medical Center (Boston); Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
- Board Certifications: Pediatrics; Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
Research is integral to our mission at Memorial Sloan Kettering, and clinical trials help us discover better forms of patient care and treatment. For you, this could mean access to a new therapy or therapy combination. Click to see a list of the trials I’m currently leading.
Clinical Trials Led by Brian H. Kushner
- A Phase I Study of the Hu3F8 Antibody plus GM-CSF in Patients with Relapsed/Refractory Neuroblastoma
- A Phase I Trial of a Trivalent Vaccine with Escalating Doses of the Immunological Adjuvant OPT-821 Plus Oral ß-Glucan for High-Risk Neuroblastoma
- A Study Offering Treatment with 3F8 and GM-CSF in Patients with High-Risk Neuroblastoma