9 Questions Answered about Clinical Trials by a Seattle Children’s Cancer Expert

It’s estimated nearly 86,000 adolescents and young adults (AYAs) will be diagnosed with cancer this year; in fact, one-third of patients treated for cancer at Seattle Children’s are AYAs.

These 15- to 39-year-olds face the unique challenges of their life stage — finishing high school or college, starting a career, establishing independence, finding a romantic partner and more — with the added pressure of cancer thrown into the mix.

Unfortunately, AYAs have the lowest clinical trial participation rate of all age groups and slower progress in survival improvement than younger and older patients.

Clinical trials are controlled, scientific studies that test the safety and effectiveness of specific therapeutic interventions. They could involve a new drug, a different way of administering chemotherapy or a new surgical technique.

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The Next Generation of Researchers: SCRI Summer Scholars Program Provides Path to Science Careers

This story is part two of an On the Pulse series. Read part one here

Seattle Children’s Research Institute (SCRI) is one of the nation’s leading pediatric research facilities, with talented investigators who have made stunning breakthroughs in their ongoing efforts to help every child live a full, healthy life.

Working to inspire and develop the next generation of talent in research and medicine, Seattle Children’s has introduced innovative programs like the SCRI Summer Scholars Program (SSSP), offered by the Science Education team in partnership with Seattle Children’s Center for Diversity and Health Equity.

In 2023, SSSP welcomed 49 new students, out of more than 500 program applicants. Over nine weeks, the Summer Scholars are assisting with 44 lab and clinical research projects involving 39 principal investigators.

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More Than a Paycheck: Seattle Children’s Summer Scholars Program Provides Path to Science Careers

This story is part one of an On the Pulse series. Read more in part two.

In the downtown labs of Seattle Children’s Research Institute (SCRI) this summer, 49 capable and curious college students are working side by side with scientists they might join as peers one day, demonstrating a summer job can not only help pay for expenses, it can cultivate a career.

“It’s part of the investment Seattle Children’s makes in aspiring scientists, beginning in kindergarten and throughout a researcher’s career, with programs at every level specifically for those historically underrepresented in biomedical research and science,” said Dr. Amanda Jones, senior director of Education Initiatives, who oversees science education efforts at Seattle Children’s.

From the Science Adventure Lab to Invent at Seattle Children’s Postdoctoral Scholars Program, Seattle Children’s works to inspire and develop the next generation of talent in research and medicine.

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Top 5 Things to Know about Malaria, According to a Seattle Children’s Infectious Disease Researcher

Eight cases of locally acquired malaria have been confirmed in Florida and Texas this summer, marking the first time in 20 years locally transmitted cases have been seen, and decades since malaria was officially eradicated in the United States.

Although about 2,000 Americans are diagnosed with malaria each year, those cases are linked with travel outside the U.S.

While no one enjoys the itchy annoyance of a mosquito bite, is there a reason to be concerned? On the Pulse asked Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Dr. Alexis Kaushansky, a malaria expert in the Center for Global Infectious Disease Research, to weigh in.

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Research Highlights: Equity Initiatives Improve Infection Rates; Cell and Gene Therapy Progress; Malaria Study

As one of the nation’s top four pediatric research centers, Seattle Children’s Research Institute remains dedicated to providing hope, care and cures to help every child live the healthiest and most fulfilling life possible.

On the Pulse takes a look at some of the highlights from across the research institute over the past month.


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Seattle Children’s Trial Medication Stops Emree’s Seizures

It’s been 12 years, but Brandy Epling still chokes up at the traumatic memory of her firstborn’s birth.

It was a difficult pregnancy, with preterm labor forcing a 33-day stay at a southwest Washington hospital for the mom-to-be, followed by months of bedrest. Ultrasounds revealed the baby’s brain was a bit bigger on the left side, but the local fetal medicine doctor wasn’t overly concerned.

Induced at 38 weeks, Brandy labored for 22 hours until Emree finally emerged.

“It was probably the scariest moment of my life,” Brandy said. “When she came out, her head was grossly swollen. There was this ring of fluid around her head. Her left eye was completely enlarged and she was not breathing normally.”

It took hours to stabilize the critically ill infant, who also had fluid around her heart.

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Partnering with Biotechs to Save Lives

Dr. David Rawlings, director of Seattle Children’s Center for Immunity and Immunotherapies and a scientific co-founder of GentiBio

Biotechnology start-up GentiBio — a Seattle Children’s Research Institute spin-out — announced a multi-year collaboration with global pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb, the latest success story in the research institute’s rapid development of therapies and technologies that change children’s lives. Spin-off companies and biotechnology/pharmaceutical industry collaborations are a critical part of accelerating and expanding the reach of these innovations. 

GentiBio is collaborating with Bristol Myers Squibb to develop new engineered regulatory T cell (Treg) therapies to re-establish immune tolerance and repair tissue in patients living with inflammatory bowel diseases, which cause debilitating and life-threatening chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Current therapies are largely focused on systemic anti-inflammatories and broad immunosuppression, which can cause adverse effects and are not curative.  

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