DeVos Children’s Hospital gets $1M for cancer studies

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The fight against childhood cancer got a big bump at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, which welcomed a check for $1 million Monday.

“I mean, it’s not everyday someone donates money like this,” said patient Cambri Dorko of Vicksburg.

The funding from Boston-based Beat NB will go toward research already making strides against neuroblastoma in children.

Dr. Giselle Sholler, director of pediatric oncology research at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, is on the frontline.

“More and more across the country, across the world, we’re learning about different cancers by understanding the mutations that cause them and what’s driving those cancers to grow,” she said. 

Cambri, 12, has been fighting neuroblastoma since she was 5 years old. On Monday, she stood next to Sholler who’s been studying her cancer cells for the past year.

“It’s teaching us the behavior of her cancer and which drugs may or may not be affective against her cancer. It’s important to not only know which drugs will work, but which drugs won’t work so we don’t waste her time,” said Sholler.

If you ask Cambri, it’s time well spent. Her latest scans show no active cancer in her body.

“We believe this is the future of cancer care in general,” said Sholler.

With the new money, Sholler will be able to practice more precision medicine. The goal: open two new clinical trials using data discovered in the labs at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

“We’re focused on really trying to understand each child’s cancer using precision medicine. As we do biopsies of children’s cancer… we sequence them to understand the DNA, RNA, the mutations, the biology of the cancer and test which drugs are going to be specific to that child,” explained Sholler.

For Cambri, who aspires to be an artist, photographer or hairdresser, the goal is simple:

“I am hoping it (neuroblastoma) will go away soon,” she said.

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Online:

GoFundMe page for Cambri

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