The Band was formed in 2007 by a group of desperate parents who wanted to do more to try to help their children beat this horrific disease. Together, they rallied behind the doctors at MSKCC and funded a treatment, which today is part of the regular neuroblastoma protocol at MSKCC. We’ve also funded trials at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, (CHOP). At the discretion of the Board of Directors, the Band of Parents will fund any project which is consistent with our mission.
Just 30 years ago, a diagnosis of high-risk neuroblastoma meant certain death. Although intensified chemotherapy and radiation improved the chances of killing this vicious cancer, many children suffered severe side effects — including developing other forms of cancer caused by the treatments themselves. Today, with Band of Parents’ help, cure rates have finally surpassed 50% at major medical centers.
In 1987, the MSKCC team began treating children with 3F8, a monoclonal antibody developed by Dr. Nai-Kong Cheung. 3F8 can attach to neuroblastoma cells and kill them, and can also train the child’s own immune system to attack and kill the cancer cells. In the last two decades, 3F8 treatment notably improved survival, without lasting side effects.
For children with lower stages of disease and favorable risk factors, surgery and/or some chemotherapy may be sufficient treatment. Children with high-risk disease typically receive multiple rounds of harsh high-dose chemotherapies, radiation, surgeries, and retinoid therapy. In addition, many undergo stem cell transplantation, immunotherapy and other painful treatments. Life is disrupted for the entire family—constant visits to the cancer clinic are required and weeks are spent in the hospital. It is common for families to travel to different parts of the country and even the world seeking treatment options for their children.