Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research

The Ben Towne Center’s mission is to translate scientific discoveries into innovative therapies that cure childhood cancer with minimal side effects and improve survivors’ quality of life.

Our Vision

We are spearheading treatments that use the immune system to eliminate cancer, without chemotherapy or radiation. Our goal is to render today’s therapies obsolete until treating childhood cancer is no different than treating an everyday virus.

Accelerating Progress Toward Cures

  • Goal: Cure Neuroblastoma

    Dr. Julie Park is leading one of the world’s first clinical studies of immunotherapy for neuroblastoma – the deadliest childhood cancer.

  • We Need Your Help

    You can help bring an end to childhood cancer all over the world, by supporting our Strong Against Cancer fundraising initiative.

Participate in Research

Our researchers have started the first round of clinical trials exploring a potential cure.

Help us answer questions about childhood health and illness, and help other children in the future. Learn more.


Developing groundbreaking cancer treatments takes more than just the right ideas. It also takes the right people.

Please visit Seattle Children’s careers page to learn about current openings.

For information about potential opportunities in the Ben Towne Center, email us.

Latest News

Abatacept may reduce graft-versus-host disease after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation3.22.2018 – Healio
The addition of abatacept to standard therapy reduced the incidence of severe acute graft-versus-host disease to less than 5%, according to phase 2 study results presented at ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition. Incidence of grade 3 or grade 4 GVHD decreased from 32% to 3% among patients who underwent mismatched unrelated donor stem cell transplants for advanced malignancies and received standard prophylaxis plus abatacept in the posttransplantation setting, according to Dr. Leslie Kean, associate director of the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

Trial to assess dual CAR T-cell therapy for children, young adults with leukemia3.11.2018 – HemOnc Today
A trial is underway to evaluate the use of dual chimeric antigen receptor T-cell immunotherapy for children and young adults with relapsed or refractory CD19- and CD22-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Dr. Rebecca Gardner, attending physician in the department of pediatric hematology-oncology at Seattle Children’s Hospital, and colleagues aim to reprogram CAR T cells to detect and destroy leukemia cells by targeting both the CD19 and CD22 proteins upfront. If the cancer evolves to no longer express CD19, the CAR T cells can still attack the cancer through the identification of the CD22 protein. HemOnc Today spoke with Gardner about the study, the rationale for this dual-targeting approach and the benefits it may confer.

In the future, cancer treatment may be remote controlled2.6.2018 – Healthline
In the future, fighting cancer may no longer mean grueling chemotherapy, but genetically altered immune systems that can be “remote controlled.” That’s currently the hope of researchers based at the University of California, San Diego, who are investigating if ultrasound waves can manipulate immune system T cells to effectively create a new form of cancer treatment. Dr. Rebecca Gardner, an oncologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, said this study is a “pretty nifty idea.” “What’s really unique about this study is that it’s anatomically specific,” said Gardner, who’s also a principal investigator of two CAR T-cell immunotherapy clinical trials at Seattle Children’s. “You have to have the ultrasound machine that goes to where the CAR T cells are and turns them on only in that location.”