High-Risk Pediatric Cancers Dream Team - Stand Up to Cancer
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Dream Teams

Research  >  Research Portfolio  >  Dream Teams  >  High-Risk Pediatric Cancers Dream Team

SU2C–St. Baldrick’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Dream Team: Immunogenomics to Create New Therapies for High-Risk Childhood Cancers

Grant Term: July 2013–June 2018

The SU2C–St. Baldrick’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Dream Team is a collaboration among pediatric cancer researchers in the largely disparate disciplines of cancer genomics and immunotherapeutics. The team focuses on developing new, targeted immunotherapeutics―ways to engage the body’s own immune system in the fight against the most difficult-to-cure childhood cancers.


New classes of therapeutics are needed to improve survival of children with cancer and decrease the life-altering physical, emotional, and financial costs of curative therapies. The team uses new technologies in the fields of cancer genomics, epigenetics (the study of mechanisms that alter gene expression), and proteomics (research into proteins and their functions) to discover and validate new targets for immunotherapy.

The SU2C–St. Baldrick’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Dream Team is building new antibodies, antibody-drug combinations, and CAR T cells to attack these targets. It is developing innovative new immunotherapies, discovering basic mechanisms of effectiveness (or lack thereof) in both antibody and cellular engineering, and devising novel methods to monitor clinical effectiveness and toxicity.

Team members have opened 25 clinical trials and treated 688 pediatric patients with cancers that previously resisted treatment. They are demonstrating the potency of immunotherapy against acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and defining mechanisms by which these cancer cells develop resistance. They have also made progress against childhood solid cancers, with many emerging therapeutics in clinics or scheduled to enter testing in the future.


The top scientists and researchers on the SU2C–St. Baldrick’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Dream Team come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, which leads them to great insights upon collaboration. Learn more about the SU2C–St. Baldrick’s Pediatric Cancer Dream Team.

Team Members

John M. Maris, MD
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Team Leader

Crystal L. Mackall, MD
Stanford University Cancer Center

Michael C. Jensen, MD
Seattle Children’s Research Institute
Principal Investigator

Donald W. Parsons, MD
Texas Children’s Cancer Center
Principal Investigator

Paul Sondel, MD
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Principal Investigator

Poul H.B. Sorensen, MD, PhD
BC Cancer Agency
Principal Investigator

Michael D. Taylor, MD
Hospital for Sick Children
Principal Investigator

Kelly Cotter
Cancer Foundation

Patrick Sullivan
Team Finn Foundation

Jennifer Baldi
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Project Manager

“Our Dream Team is focused on bringing two very important fields of research together―genomics, the ability to understand the genetic basis of cancer, and immunotherapy, the ability to harness the power of the body’s own immune system to attack cancer. I’m very optimistic that this sort of thinking will lead to very important new realities for children with cancer.”

John M. Maris, MD
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia


Stand Up To Cancer’s research projects are designed to foster collaborative, swift translational research. The hallmarks of these efforts include rigorous application and selection procedures, sufficient funding to allow scientists to focus on the objectives of the grant, and reviews by senior scientists every six months. These reviews help the investigators capitalize on the latest findings, address potential roadblocks, and collaboratively evolve as the science requires. Please click on the link to see summaries of research results so far for the SU2C–St. Baldrick’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Dream Team.



Potent Antitumor Efficacy of Anti-GD2 CAR T Cells in H3-K27M+ Diffuse Midline Gliomas
Mount CW, Majzner RG, Sundaresh S, et al. (2018)
Nature Medicine 24:572–579.


Cancer clinical trials allow researchers to study innovative and potentially life-saving new treatments. The goal is to find treatments that are better than what’s currently available; in fact, the therapies offered to today’s cancer patients were almost all studied and made possible by people participating in clinical trials. But many cancer clinical trials aren’t completed because not enough people take part.

At StandUpToCancer.org/ClinicalTrials, you’ll find information and answers to common questions about clinical trials. Learn more and talk to your doctor to see if a clinical trial may be the best choice for you.

You can also connect with EmergingMed, a free and confidential clinical trial matching service that provides access to a vast database to help you identify the clinical trials that might be right for you or your loved one.