Pediatric Oncology Program

Program Leaders: Stephan Grupp, MD, PhD and Kai Tan, PhD

The Pediatric Oncology Program of the Abramson Cancer Center discovers, develops and translates novel therapeutic approaches to improve cure rates and reduce acute and long-term toxicities in children with cancer. Established in 1992, the Program has the overall goal to change the standard of care for children with cancer in the US and across the world. Scientific aims are:

  • Characterize molecular mechanisms of childhood cancers and predisposition for risk evaluation and precision therapies
  • Further develop innovative cell therapies for hematologic malignancies to improve cure rates and minimize the use of allogeneic stem cell transplantation
  • Identify targets in high risk and relapsed solid tumors and develop new therapies for these challenging tumors

The Program is led by Stephan Grupp, MD, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics, Chief of the Cell Therapy and Transplant Section and Medical Director of the Cell and Gene Therapy Laboratory, and Kai Tan, PhD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics. Together, they provide translational and transdisciplinary leadership for the Program members, who form a dynamic community of investigators. The Program has integrated basic, translational, and clinical research components, with a diverse group of investigators who have expertise in cancer genomics, cell biology and signal transduction, tumor immunology and immunotherapy, drug development, clinical pharmacology, epidemiology, clinical research, cancer control, survivorship, and behavioral oncology. Most notably in recent years, Program members worked collaboratively with members of other Programs to develop CD19-targeted CAR-T cells (tisagenlecleucel), taking the first CAR-T therapy to FDA approval for children and young adults with ALL. Other accomplishments include advances for targeted therapy of pediatric leukemia, discovery of novel cancer pathways in neuroblastoma and gliomas, and two new FDA approved drugs for pediatric solid tumors.

Pediatric Oncology Program Membership