Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research
Learn more about the Ben Towne Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation.
The Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research seeks to translate new scientific knowledge and technologies into effective treatments that maximize the well-being of children with cancer and the quality of life for survivors of childhood cancer. To realize this vision, the center is broadening its research program to a greater range of pediatric cancers, expanding its laboratory-based research initiatives, strengthening its clinical research program in solid tumors and further investing in Seattle Children’s world-class clinical research programs in leukemia and stem cell transplantation (also known as bone marrow transplantation).
The focus of Dr. Michael Jensen and the 1100 Olive Lab is to develop innovative new immunotherapies for curing childhood cancers, eventually eliminating the need for surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Initially, Jensen and his team will continue their promising research on T-cells, a type of white blood cell in the immune system that protects the body from infection. Since cancer cells start out as healthy cells, T-cells don’t recognize them as threats. The center’s approach is a transformative shift away from the debilitating side effects that surgery, chemotherapy and radiation can have on a child’s developing mind and body.
As part of the center’s promising work on innovative therapies that use the body’s immune system to destroy cancer, the Jensen Lab recently announced a new Cellular Immunotherapy Phase I Cancer Trial for Children with Relapsed Leukemia.
These therapies aim to reprogram the body’s immune system by inserting improved DNA into T-cells – specialized white blood cells that eradicate infections – and instructing them to kill cancer cells. In Jensen’s work, the T-cell approach has been remarkably effective at eradicating cancer in mice. Jensen and his team will use this breakthrough as the basis for clinical therapies that save children’s lives.
Seattle and Seattle Children’s is fast becoming the global epicenter of cancer research and scientific excellence in clinical care for cancer. The center is building on its partnerships with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington to lead scientific advances and is dedicated to improving treatments and outcomes for children with cancer.