Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Pediatric Oncology Program

Working to impact the lives of kids with cancer in West Michigan, across the country, and even around the world.

The pediatric hematology and oncology team at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital leads the Neuroblastoma and Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium (NMTRC), an international network of 26 universities and children’s hospitals. The mission of the NMTRC is to offer the most promising and innovative clinical trials for a number of childhood cancers.

Both the hospital and the NMTRC have seen significant advancement in their neuroblastoma treatment program with the work being done by Dr. Giselle Sholler. Neuroblastoma is an aggressive cancer that effects the adrenal glands, and is most commonly diagnosed in children under five years old. For the majority of children, neuroblastoma cases are so aggressive that survival rates of less than 50 percent are common.

Over the past year, the Signatures Project has provided the molecular “fingerprints” for neuroblastoma patients and their unique tumor cells. Now, every tumor biopsy can be analyzed using the latest molecular profiling technologies, and computational techniques can be applied to identify molecular targets for innovative drug interventions.

According to Dr. James Fahner, division chief of pediatric hematology and oncology, their program stands out from any other program because they incorporate several specialties into a child’s care. This includes having multiple nurses, social workers, pharmacists, child life specialists, and many others working with doctors to make sure the child has everything they need and are provided with the best care.

U.S. News and World Report has consistently recognized Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in the top 50 children’s hospitals in the nation, with their pediatric cancer program keeping their spot on the list for the past five years.