The finding reported today does not yet have an immediate clinical application. "What we know now is that we may have found a useful delivery system for the time when cancer vaccines are tested in children," said Dr. Coughlin, who is a research fellow from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, working in the laboratory of Robert H. Vonderheide, M.D., D.Phil., of Penn's Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute.
Pediatric oncologist Stephan A. Grupp, M.D., Ph.D., director of Stem Cell Biology at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, was the third member of the research team. "Our current work may eventually support immune-boosting therapies against pediatric cancers, such as neuroblastoma," said Dr. Grupp. Neuroblastoma, a solid tumor of the peripheral nervous system, accounts for 10 percent of all childhood cancers. It is a major research focus of the Oncology Program at Children's Hospital, one of the largest pediatric cancer programs in the United States.