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New York Medical College Hosts 16th Annual Memorial Lectureship

"All advances in curing children with cancer are made because of laboratory and clinical research,”

Date: July 17, 2015
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Jennifer Riekert, M.B.A.
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New York Medical College
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The Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF) held its 16th annual Memorial Lectureship at New York Medical College.

Valhalla, N.Y., July 17, 2015—The Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF) held its 16th annual Memorial Lectureship at New York Medical College on July 14. Dedicated to remembering children who lost their battles with cancer and recognizing the renowned investigators who dedicate their lives to its cure, the Lectureship included remarks by PCRF Founder Mitchell Cairo, M.D., and a special presentation entitled “Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy—the Yin and Yang of the Neuroblastoma Microenvironment” given by Robert Seeger, M.D., who was honored at the event for his academic accomplishments in pediatric cancer research.  

“More than 15,000 children across the country are diagnosed with cancer every year,” said Dr.  Cairo. “While we continue to work toward finding a cure, the annual memorial lectureship gives us the opportunity to honor the lives we lost too soon while uplifting those who continue to make strides in research. We are honored to welcome Dr. Seeger, whose career truly honors the children we care for every day.”

"All advances in curing children with cancer are made because of laboratory and clinical research,” said Dr. Robert Seegar. “PCRF and other foundations that support research are critically important for curing more children so they can have a normal life."

Dr. Seeger serves as the professor of Pediatrics in the Keck School of Medicine, director of Cancer Research Program of The Saban Research Institute, and division head for Basic and Translational Research of the Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. His expertise includes pre-clinical immunotherapy, biomarker development and application and early phase clinical trials. As the principal investigator of an NCI-funded Neuroblastoma PPG, he co-chairs the Scientific Review Committee of the New Approaches to Neuroblastoma Therapy (NANT) consortium, which sets directions and reviews clinical trial proposals. The NANT is an early-phase clinical trials consortium of 15 institutions in North America that tests new treatments, biomarkers, and imaging for children with refractory or recurrent neuroblastoma.

Dr. Seeger’s therapeutic research deals with immunotherapy strategies that seek to maximize natural killer (NK) cell activity with tumor cell-targeting antibodies and with agents that modify the tumor microenvironment milieu to minimize NK suppressive effects of monocytes/macrophages producing IL-6 and TGFβ1. His biomarker research has resulted in a 14-gene expression signature (TaqMan® Low Density Array, TLDA) that predicts outcomes for children with high-risk metastatic neuroblastoma. He also has developed a second TLDA assay that quantifies expression of 5 neuroblastoma genes in bone marrow and blood with the ability to detect 1 tumor cell/million normal cells. This assay is proving useful for monitoring response and predicting outcome.

NYMC physician-researcher Mitchell S. Cairo, M.D., is the recipient of $2,700,000 over three years from the PCRF for his work on cancer genetics, tumor immunology, transplantation biology, stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. Dr. Cairo holds faculty appointments in pediatrics, medicine, pathology, microbiology and immunology and cell biology at the College and is chief, pediatric hematology, oncology and stem cell transplantation at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center.

In addition to raising awareness and money for research at New York Medical College, PCRF supports dozens of researchers and staff across the country through grants in locations across the United States, including:

  • UC Irvine
  • City of Hope
  • Be the Match Foundation
  • Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA
  • Columbia University Medical Center
  • Children’s Hospital of Orange County
  • The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

About New York Medical College
Founded in 1860, NYMC is one of the oldest and largest health sciences universities in the country with more than 1,400 students, 1,300 residents and clinical fellows, nearly 3,000 faculty members, and 16,000 living alumni. The College, which joined the Touro College and University System in 2011, is located in Westchester County, New York, and offers advanced degrees from the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Basic Medical Sciences, and the School of Health Sciences and Practice. The College manages more than $36 million in research and other sponsored programs, notably in the areas of cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious diseases, kidney disease, the neurosciences, disaster medicine, and vaccine development. With a network of affiliated hospitals that includes large urban medical centers, small suburban clinics and high-tech regional tertiary care facilities, NYMC provides a wide variety of clinical training opportunities throughout the tri-state region for medical students, residents, and other health providers.

About Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation
The Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF) is an independent, nonprofit organization, wholly dedicated to funding leading-edge pediatric cancer research nationwide. Since its founding in 1982, PCRF has raised over $31 million dollars towards the ultimate goal of ending pediatric cancers so children and their families can re-focus on the joys of childhood. This commitment has translated into immediate treatment for children with cancer by developing innovative treatment protocols; improving patients’ long-term quality of life; and supporting those scientists working on the precipice of important medical breakthroughs. For more information, please visit www.PCRF-kids.org, or contact Executive Director Jeri Wilson at jwilson@pcrf-kids.org.