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Dr. Laetsch is a pediatric oncologist who provides clinical care and conducts research with the overarching goal of improving treatment options for children with difficult to treat cancers.
Dr. Theodore Laetsch is a pediatric oncologist who leads the Developmental Therapeutics Program (DVL) and the Very Rare Malignant Tumors Program (VRMTP) at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and holds national leadership roles in each of these areas within the Children’s Oncology Group.
In the DVL program, Dr. Laetsch conducts early phase clinical trials of new treatments for children with difficult to treat cancers, with a focus on molecularly targeted therapies that are designed to block specific genetic mutations identified in patients' tumors. Dr. Laetsch leads the pediatric development of TRK inhibitors for children with NTRK gene fusions, and now leads a COG nationwide clinical trial studying the ability to use TRK inhibitors instead of chemotherapy for children with one of these gene fusions.
While individually very uncommon, very rare malignant tumors comprise more than 10% of childhood cancers. Given the rarity of each diagnosis, these cancers have been poorly studied and for many patients there are not standard, defined treatments. As the chair of the Rare Tumors Committee for the Children’s Oncology Group, Dr. Laetsch is working to advance the study of these tumors and define new ways to treat patients.
Dr. Laetsch hopes to advance the care of patients with these tumors by using cancer genomics to identify targetable mutations as well as studying immunotherapy, which has revolutionized care for some cancers in adult patients. Dr. Laetsch is a member of the cellular therapy/chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell team at CHOP. Prior to joining CHOP in 2020, Dr. Laetsch led the pediatric CAR T-cell program at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Education and Training
BS, University Of Arizona (Agriculture And Biosystems Engineering), 2001
MD, University Of California, San Francisco, 2005
Internship, University of Colorado School of Medicine (Pediatrics), Denver Children's Hospital
Residency, University of Colorado School of Medicine (Pediatrics), Denver Children's Hospital
Fellowship, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (Pediatric Hematology-Oncology)
Titles and Academic Titles
Director, Developmental Therapeutics Program
Director, Very Rare Malignant Tumors Program
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Children's Oncology Group, Member, 2009-
Children's Oncology Group/National Cancer Institute, Pediatric MATCH Target Agent and Prioritization Committee, Member, 2015-
Children's Oncology Group/National Cancer Institute, Pediatric MATCH Leadership Committee, Member, 2016-
International Society of Pediatric Oncology, Member, 2016-
Connective Tissue Oncology Society, Member, 2017-
National Institutes of Health, ClinGen Somatic Variant Curation Taskforce, Member, 2017-
American Society of Hematology, Member, 2018-
American Society of Clinical Oncology, Annual Meeting Education Committee (Track Leader-Pediatric Oncology), 2019 -
Children's Oncology Group, Rare Tumors Committee, Chair, 2019-
National Institutes of Health, ClinGen NTRK fusion Variant Curation Expert Panel, Member, 2019-