On its research advocacy blog Research Means Hope, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) recently highlighted an innovative immune therapy trial led by researchers from CHOP and Penn that led to the dramatic recovery of one young patient. Before being treated with bioengineered T cells that were designed to destroy cancer cells, the prospects for Emily Whitehead were grim: her leukemia had relapsed, and conventional treatments had proven ineffective. However, after being treated with immune therapy at Children’s Hospital, Emily achieved a complete response, and remains cancer-free to this day.
The trial was featured as part of the AAMC’s Research Means Hope campaign, which seeks “to raise public awareness of the critical need for sustained federal funding for medical research” from the NIH, according to the AAMC’s page. The campaign was launched to underscore how “cutting funding to medical research will have dire consequences for the quality of healthcare in the future and the development of life-saving medical advances.” Because of sequestration, the NIH is required to cut $1.55 billion or 5 percent of its 2013 budget, which could lead to approximately 700 fewer grants issued and delays in medical progress, according to the NIH’s website.
Emily’s inspirational story was shared on the new “Bench to Bedside” section of Research Means Hope (coincidentally, Bench to Bedside is also the title of CHOP Research’s monthly publication). “I think Emily’s story shows how important it is to fund medical research,” said her mother, Kari Whitehead. “We need to provide funding to help other children like Emily. If it weren’t for this medical research, we wouldn’t be parents now.”
To read more, see Research Means Hope!