The unmet need for more effective treatments against pediatric cancer is what ignited my scientific interest in targeted therapies for pediatric solid tumors. In training, I combined my interest in solid tumors and immunotherapy/cellular therapy to engineer dendritic cell-based vaccines targeted against Ewing sarcoma in vitro. At Cleveland Clinic Children's, I am a co-investigator in a phase III Ewing sarcoma vaccine trial, which is a seamless clinical extension of my lab work in fellowship. I am also principal investigator of clinical trials in my field involving other immunotherapy drugs, namely, palbociclib in combination with irinotecan and temozolomide for recurrent pediatric solid tumors, as well as DFMOmaintenance therapy for patients with neuroblastoma. I am co-investigator of many collaborative group trials in our department as well, through the Children's Oncology Group, Headstart, and the Beat Childhood Cancer consortium.
I also have a strong interest in learning why children and adolescents with rhabdomyosarcoma relapse. We know that the survival of children who have localized disease is up to 70%; however, once a child’s disease recurs, the survival dramatically decreases to an unacceptable. I am collaborating with my colleagues, Drs. Omar Mian, Brian Rubin and Erin Murphy in the Taussig Cancer Institute and Tomsich Laboratory Institute to study the potential epigenetic alterations that exist in patients who have chemoradiotherapy resistant disease.
I am also compiling and analyzing data on our patients who have received non-traditional outpatient chemotherapy(liposomal doxorubicin or continuous infusion ifosfamide) for relapsed/refractory sarcoma. This retrospective analysis will give great insight into helping patients not only combat recurrent disease, but doing so with the best possible quality of life. I plan to also prospectively study local control measures for recurrent/refractory sarcoma, and their impact on patient-reported outcomes.
In summary, I am a young physician at the beginning of my career, with a deep sense of scientific inquiry and strong desire to become a significant contributor towards making the lives of our childhood cancer patients better. I can effectively collaborate with others to initiate and be a leader in translational and clinical research studies. I am fortunate to have exceptional and accomplished mentors who are very willing to help our Cleveland Clinic Children’s Cancer Program achieve world-class status.