The Las Madrinas Endowment for Molecular Oncology continues to support ongoing research in neuroblastoma, a high-risk cancer of the nervous system outside the brain. The original project, led by Robert C. Seeger, MD, focused on increasing survival rates and enhancing the lives of young patients with high-risk neuroblastoma. Funding from Las Madrinas enabled Dr. Seeger to develop a molecular biomarker test that could identify neuroblastoma cells in bone marrow and blood. This test was used by the New Approaches to Neuroblastoma Therapy clinical consortium at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and proved to have a 100-percent probability of detecting a single tumor cell per million of normal bone marrow or blood cells.
Today, The Las Madrinas Endowment for Molecular Oncology supports the laboratory-based work of Dr. Lee J. Helman, head of basic and clinical research at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Dr. Helman and his colleagues are focused on osteosarcomas, one of the most common, yet sometimes most aggressive forms of cancer in the bone.