"We're moving away from the 'magic bullet' concept," said Larry Herrera, M.D., Scott & White physician-scientist.
"Now is the time for us to make another real advancement in treating children's leukemia and not rest on what we've done," Dr. Herrera
Funded by a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health
, Dr. Herrera
team of physicians and scientists are conducting a Phase I studies to determine appropriate dosages of antibody therapy in patients who have exhausted all other treatments.
"Here we are, possibly curing some of these kids," Dr. Herrera
expects three more study phases to follow, each expanding the numbers of patients and scope of the trial.Dr. Herrera
and Scott & White hope to create antibodies that can be available to children worldwide.Dr. Herrera
is confident that this research will eventually be applicable to adults.
"This partnership will help us translate what is happening in laboratory and bring it right where physicians successfully treat patients," Dr. Herrera
...Larry Herrera, M.D., part of the pediatric oncology team at Scott & White, has developed a l cancer research program for children with leukemia who are no longer responding to chemotherapy.After completing fellowships in pediatric hematology/oncology cancer research, Dr. Herrera came to Scott & White to develop the program, which is focused on the development and testing of investigational antibodies to treat relapsed Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).
In part of his
research, Dr. Herrera
has found that two immunotoxins (antibodies linked to toxins) can kill leukemia cells, and that these are even more potent and specific than chemotherapy."We want to understand the effect of immunotoxins and antibodies on tumor cells," said Dr. Herrera, the study's principal investigator.
"We have found that these antibodies can cause tumor cells to stop dividing, and in essence kill the cells.We want to know how to increase that effect."Dr. Herrera
added that his
research also focuses on finding ways to use these antibodies in conjunction with or even instead of chemotherapy.
Currently, Dr. Herrera
is conducting a Phase I study for children with leukemia who have not responded to chemotherapy or other treatments.The goal of this phase is to determine the safety of the antibodies.About 15 to 20 children are expected to be enrolled in the study during the next three to four years.
In addition to Scott & White
, the Children's Hospital and Clinic
in Minneapolis, the University of Texas Southwestern
, and Morris Clinics in Florida are participating in the study, with Dr. Herrera
leading the activities and coordinating results for all.
"I really feel this treatment is the future," Dr. Herrera
said."I foresee that many cancers that are currently treated with chemotherapy can be treated with antibody therapy.I believe these kids can be cured.DR. HERRERA - PEDI ONCOLOGY GRANT
It's a fight that many say can never be won, but one local physician-scientist is doing all he
can to make sure it can be beaten.Larry Herrera, M.D., a pediatric oncologist at Scott & White has dedicated his professional life to finding another cure for childhood leukemia, and the research he is doing is putting him on the right track.Dr. Herrera
has developed a cancer research program focused on the development and testing of investigational antibodies to treat relapsed Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).Dr. Herrera
has found that two immunotoxins (antibodies linked to toxins) can kill leukemia cells, and these immunotoxins are more potent and specific than chemotherapy.
During the past year and a half Dr. Herrera
has seen wonderful results, and he's
not the only one who has noticed the progress.Recently, Dr. Herrera
was given $500,000 to support his
"The donation from Mr. Hughes has given our project a much needed boost," Dr. Herrera
Currently, Dr. Herrera
is conducting a Phase I study for children with leukemia who have not responded to chemotherapy or bone marrow transplants.The goal of this study is to determine the safety of the antibodies.So far, six children have been treated and four have responded.One child did achieve a complete remission.
"We have been very pleased with the results, but not completely surprised," Dr. Herrera
said."I've always known this could be a viable treatment, and the results we are seeing so far are very exciting.You don't normally see results such as these in a Phase I trial, and to have achieved a remission is just wonderful."Dr. Herrera
goal is to treat 20 children in the Phase I Study, which he
hopes to complete over the next year and a half to two years.
In addition to Scott & White
, the Children's Hospital
in Los Angeles, Children's Hospital and Clinics
in Minneapolis, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
in Dallas, Emory University
and Nemours Children's Clinics
in Florida are participating in the study.Dr. Herrera
, who has also received a grant from the National Institutes of Health
, says after the Phase I trial is finished, Phase II will focus on finding the best way to combine the antibody-based agents with chemotherapy, thereby attacking the cancer with two very different therapies at one time.But while his
research continues, Dr. Herrera
project is always in danger of being cut short.