Kickoff for Cancer raises funds to help move cancer trials toward treatment

Kickoff for Cancer raises funds to help move cancer trials toward treatment
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People in the Madison-area community donated funds for a new employment position at the American Family Children’s Hospital, which they celebrated Sunday at the third annual Kickoff for Cancer.

The Majestic Theatre hosted the kickoff and screened the Packers game while people celebrated being one step closer to beating childhood cancer. The funds raised from the event go to support a protocol activation coordinator position at the UW Carbone Cancer Center in its Clinical Research Central Office.

Dr. Ken DeSantes, head of the pediatric hematology/oncology program at AFCH, said the new position helps doctors move cancer trials to a point where they can start treating patients.

“It’s a terrible thing to say, ‘Well, we have this great study that we can offer, but it’s not open yet. Sorry, we can’t. It won’t be open for another few months,'” DeSantes said. “A child with recurring cancer can’t wait another few months.”

DeSantes said the position was started about a year ago, but the person who was originally hired moved on to another position in the medical field. He said someone else has now been hired in their place.

Having that position is important, DeSantes said, because those trials can be the best possible therapy for a cancer patient.

Six-year-old Harlow Phillips, who has been through the trial process, has gone through five rounds of chemotherapy. She’s now on a new trial, which has a 90% chance of no relapse.

“That’s what’s saving these kids’ lives,” said Melani Phillips, Harlow’s mother. “Our only other option was to go to Michigan, and being apart from our kids and our family. I can’t imagine having to make that choice.”

Harlow’s next scans are in February.

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