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, and second research tower opened in 2014.
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:
- Children’s Oncology Group (COG)
- New Agents for Neuroblastoma Treatment (NANT) consortium
- Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant consortium (PBMTC)
- Pediatric Neuro-oncology collaborative group
- Primary Immune Deficiency Treatment Consortium (PIDTC)
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 Division Chief and leads a unique clinical trial only available at UW, involving infusion of haploidentical (from a parent) natural killer cells with an anti-GD2 immunocytokine for children with relapsed or refractory neuroblastoma. Learn more.
Diane Puccetti, MD leads our Neuro-oncology clinical research program. 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.
Carol Diamond, MD is our Director of Hematology/Coagulation and is a co-investigator on a clinical trial quantifying iron in the liver using MRI. She directs our Comprehensive Sickle Cell Clinic and Comprehensive Bleeding Disorders Clinic as well as participates in our Vascular Anomalies Clinic.
Mario Otto, MD, PhD is offering an innovative haploidentical stem cell transplant approach using alpha-beta T cell depletion and KIR/KIR ligand NK cell mismatch for children with refractory hematologic malignancies and solid tumors. We are the only center in the country using Zoledronate to expand gamma-delta T cells, and the only center treating children with refractory solid tumors with this approach. Learn more.
He also recently opened a phase I clinical trial with CLR131, a radiopharmaceutical that targets pediatric solid tumors. We are currently the only institution in the world to offer this trial. Learn more.
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 ex vivo expanded NK cells.
Bone Marrow Transplant
TCR-αβ+ and CD19+ Depleted KIR/KIR Ligand-mismatched Haploidentical Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant and Zoledronate for Pediatric Relapsed/Refractory Hematologic Malignancies and High Risk Solid Tumors
This phase I trial studies the safety of transplantation with a haploidentical donor (typically Mother or Father) peripheral blood stem cell graft depleted of TCRαβ+ cells (which cause GVHD) and CD19+ cells in conjunction with the immunomodulating drug, Zoledronate, given in the post-transplant period. Zoledronate expands gamma delta T cells, which have anti-tumor properties, speed up immune recovery but do not mediate GVHD.
To our knowledge, this is the only TCRαβ+ cell depletion trial treating children with solid tumors, and offering Zoledronate.
- Acute Myeloid Leukemia
- Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
- Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Myelodysplastic Syndrome
- Myeloproliferative Syndrome
- Ewing Sarcoma
- Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumor
Ages eligible for study: 7 months to 21 years
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.
Eligible Leukemia and Lymphomas
- Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)
- Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
- Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML)
- Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia (JMML)
- Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS)
- Hodgkin's Disease
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas (NHL)
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.
Eligible Solid Tumors
|Sarcomas||Other Tumors||Other Oncologic Diseases|
Germ Cell Tumors
Endocrine Tumors, including Adrenocortical carcinoma
Langerhans' Cell Histiocytosis (LCH)
Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH)
Vascular malformations (Hemangiomas and lymphangiomas)
Neurofibromatosis (Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor)
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.
- 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
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.
Eligible Brain & Spinal Tumors
- Brain Stem Glioma
- Optic Glioma
- Atypical Teratoid/Rhabdoid tumor (ATRT)
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.
Dr. Christian Capitini leads an NIH-supported laboratory that focuses on using allogeneic bone marrow transplant (alloBMT) to cure pediatric cancers. The goal of this research is two-fold: to improve graft-vs.-tumor effects using immunotherapies that have potential to be translated into the clinic, and to reduce or eliminate graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD) through modulation of antigen presenting cells. Ongoing laboratory work is combining NK cells expanded with costimulatory molecules and gamma (c) cytokines with antibodies to stimulate NK cell proliferation and activation against several pediatric tumors in the alloBMT setting. He is also developing MRI techniques to monitor NK cells in vivo.
Tumor Vaccines After Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation - A Lost Hope?
UW Pediatrics Grand Rounds - Christian M. Capitini, MD
Dr. Mario Otto leads an NIH-supported laboratory that 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.
For more information or questions, please contact us via email at PedsHemOncResearch [at] lists.wisc.edu or call us at 608-890-8070
We also welcome requests for PedsHemOncResearch [at] lists.wisc.edu (second opinions).