Skip to Content

Research

The division of hematology, oncology & bone marrow transplant is committed to integrating research into the care of our patients. Our laboratories are located in the cutting edge Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research, whose first research tower opened in 2008.

Clinical Research Programs

The major advances in treatment in childhood cancer have resulted from well-designed clinical trials. Thus the great majority of patients we care for participate in clinical trials. We offer access to cutting edge treatments through participation in multi-institutional group trials. These include our activities in the:

In our role as participants in the above clinical groups, members of our team have played leadership roles in the design, implementation and analyses of many national clinical research trials, particularly for the COG.

Ken De Santes, MD is our Clinical Director and also leads our Bone Marrow Transplant clinical research program. In particular, he has designed a unique clinical trial only available at UW, involving infusion of natural killer cells after hematopoietic stem cell transplant for relapsed or refractory childhood cancers.

Neha Patel, MD and Diane Puccetti, MD lead our Neuro-oncology clinical research program. Dr. Patel is also the Medical Director of the American Family Children’s Hospital Specialty Clinics and the Clinic Director of our Comprehensive Neurocutaneous Disorders Clinic. Dr. Puccetti is also interested in childhood cancer survivorship, as Director of our Caring for Life clinic, and leads our Late Effects clinical research program.

In addition, all faculty enroll patients with Hematologic Malignancies and Solid Tumors onto clinical trials offered through COG or exclusively at UW. In addition, we have specific expertise in managing patients with neuroblastoma through cutting edge treatments such as anti-GD2 immunotherapy, MIBG therapy or natural killer cell infusions.

Tumor Vaccines After Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation - A Lost Hope?
UW Pediatrics Grand Rounds - Christian M. Capitini, MD

Bone Marrow Transplant

Reduced Intensity Haploidentical Transplantation with NK Cell Infusion for Pediatric Acute Leukemia and High Risk Solid Tumors

Natural killer (NK) cells are an important component of our body’s immune system responsible for controlling both virally-infected cells and tumors. NK cells also support white blood cell development. There is extensive interest in the pediatric oncology community in understanding how to infuse NK cells safely and effectively into children with relapsed or refractory cancer.

Looking for More Details?

Review the Protocol Summary

Is My Child Eligible?

To see if your child is eligible, please call (608) 263-6200 or pho [at] pediatrics [dot] wisc [dot] edu (email us) your child’s name, diagnosis and contact information.

Have a Research Study Question?

If you have a research study related question, please PHOresearch [at] pediatrics [dot] wisc [dot] edu (contact the pediatric oncology research team) or by calling (608) 890-8070.

Eligible Cancers

  • Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma
  • Ewing Sarcoma
  • Wilm’s Tumor
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Hodgkin Lymphoma

We have designed a novel pilot trial where NK cells isolated from haploidentical donors (most often the child’s mother or father) are infused to children with refractory or relapsed cancer right after a reduced intensity peripheral blood stem cell transplant. The donor of the stem cells is the same as the NK cell donor. We believe giving NK cells in this fashion serves several important purposes:

  1. Because NK cells are inactivated when they encounter “self” molecules (autologous), by using NK cells from a parent (allogeneic), we insure those NK cells will be mismatched to the patient’s tumor, and therefore be better able to attack and kill it.
  2. The immunologic environment present after a stem cell transplant is highly conducive to NK cell expansion because of the presence of supporting growth factors.
  3. Because NK cells support white blood cell development, theoretically they could enhance stem cell engraftment and immune reconstitution.
  4. Using a reduced intensity conditioning (chemotherapy) regimen to prep the patient for transplant reduces the risk of organ toxicity to children who are already heavily pretreated from their initial chemotherapy regimen.

Other Bone Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials

Hematologic Malignancies

Patients and/or physicians can contact the Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant program for inquiries related to clinical trial eligibility for infants, children and adolescents with hematologic malignancies.

We also welcome requests for second opinions.

Contact Information

Call (608) 263-6200 M-F, 8-5pm CST or email pho [at] pediatrics [dot] wisc [dot] edu

Have a Research Study Question?

If you have a research study related question, please PHOresearch [at] pediatrics [dot] wisc [dot] edu (contact the pediatric oncology research team) or by calling (608) 890-8070.

Eligible Leukemia and Lymphomas

Available Leukemia Clinical Trials

Available Lymphoma Clinical Trials

Solid Tumors

Patients and/or physicians can contact the Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant program for inquiries related to clinical trial eligibility for infants, children and adolescents with solid tumors.

We also welcome requests for second opinions.

Contact Information
Call (608) 263-6200 M-F, 8-5pm CST or email pho [at] pediatrics [dot] wisc [dot] edu

Have a Research Study Question?

If you have a research study related question, please PHOresearch [at] pediatrics [dot] wisc [dot] edu (contact the pediatric oncology research team) or by calling (608) 890-8070.

Eligible Solid Tumors

Sarcomas Other Tumors Other Oncologic Diseases

Ewing Sarcoma

Osteosarcoma

Rhabdomyosarcoma

Neuroblastoma

Wilms Tumor

Hepatoblastoma

Retinoblastoma

Germ Cell Tumors

Endocrine Tumors, including Adrenocortical carcinoma

Thyroid Tumors

Langerhans' Cell Histiocytosis (LCH)

Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH)

Vascular malformations (Hemangiomas and lymphangiomas)

Neurofibromatosis (Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor)

Available Sarcoma Clinical Trials

Other Available Clinical Trials

Late Effects

The Caring for Life Clinic is designed specifically to help the survivors of childhood cancer. Patients and/or physicians can contact the Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant program for inquiries related to clinical trial eligibility for infants, children and adolescents with late effects.

We also welcome requests for second opinions.

Contact Information

Call (608) 263-6200 M-F, 8-5pm CST or email pho [at] pediatrics [dot] wisc [dot] edu

Have a Research Study Question?

If you have a research study related question, please PHOresearch [at] pediatrics [dot] wisc [dot] edu (contact the pediatric oncology research team) or by calling (608) 890-8070.

Clinic Goals

  • Detect and treat problems related to being a childhood cancer survivor
  • Share ongoing research findings with childhood cancer survivors
  • Provide health maintenance education about potential risks and preventive behaviors
  • Provide information to school personnel and employers to meet the special needs of survivors
  • Provide emotional support to both survivors and family members
  • Empower survivors of cancer to advocate for their rights
  • Facilitate transition of medical care to an adult care system

Available Late Effects Clinical Trials

Neuro-oncology

Patients and/or physicians can contact the Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant program for inquiries related to clinical trial eligibility for infants, children and adolescents with brain or spinal tumors.

We also welcome requests for second opinions.

Contact Information
Call (608) 263-6200 M-F, 8-5pm CST or email pho [at] pediatrics [dot] wisc [dot] edu

Have a Research Study Question?

If you have a research study related question, please PHOresearch [at] pediatrics [dot] wisc [dot] edu (contact the pediatric oncology research team) or by calling (608) 890-8070.

Eligible Brain & Spinal Tumors

Available Brain & Spinal Clinical Trials

Laboratory Research Programs

Three faculty members are physician scientists with active lab research programs.

Dr. Paul Sondel leads a NIH-supported laboratory research programs that are pursuing basic, translational, and preclinical analyses directly related to clinical issues in pediatric oncology. Dr. Sondel is investigating ways the cells of the innate immune system may be activated to adhere to and destroy tumor cells.

Sondel Laboratory

Dr. Christian Capitini focuses on using preclinical mouse models of allogeneic blood and marrow transplant (alloBMT) to cure pediatric leukemias and solid tumors with tumor-directed immunotherapeutic therapies such as dendritic cell vaccines, adoptive NK cell and T cell-based infusions. The goal of this research is to both improve presently used biological therapies in clinical alloBMT, such as donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI), as well as develop novel immune-based therapies that have potential to be translated into the clinic.

Immunotherapy & Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Research Group (Capitini)

Dr. Mario Otto is interested in targeted therapies for pediatric malignancies and in nanooncology. Our lab seeks novel ways to empower the patient’s own immune system to specifically attack tumor cells while avoiding toxicity to healthy tissue. We are specifically interested in the use of gammadelta T cells and certain tumor-specific antibodies for adoptive immunotherapy. Another research focus is nanooncology, which is the application of nanobiotechnology to the management of cancer and has the potential to revolutionize cancer diagnosis and therapy. Our lab is developing multifunctional, targeted nanoparticles for simultaneous imaging and treatment of neuroblastoma and other pediatric tumors.

Otto Laboratory


Last updated: 03/12/2014
webmaster [at] pediatrics [dot] wisc [dot] edu
Copyright © 2014 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System