Our Blog

Improving Childhood Cancer Survivorship by Monitoring and Detoxifying Metals

Dr. Maro OhanianIn the early part of 2017 the Max Cure Foundation, as a result of a grant provided by the RS Reynolds Foundation, made possible by Board Member Anne Robertson, provided an initial grant of $8,500.00 for Maro Ohanian, DO’s research at MD Anderson Cancer Center.  As 2017 came to a close, Max Cure, through our collaboration and partnership with Beth and Henry White, in the Washington, DC Metro area, in forming the Connor Fund through Max Cure provided a second grant of $25,000.00 to Dr. Ohanian and her team, and in addition, we helped foster an exciting collaboration.  We are thrilled to announce that Greg Aune, MD from UT Health San Antonio will provide collaborative support for this research.  Dr. Aune, himself a childhood cancer survivor, is a well-known pediatric oncologist and serves in several high profile national level committees. Dr. Aune’s collaboration provides a significant layer of expansion and first-hand experience with the impacts of childhood cancer upon survivors.

The goal of this research effort, and ultimately clinical efforts through the initiation of a clinical trial, is to improve the lives of children, as well as adults, that survive their initial diagnosis of cancer.  There are five specific aims of the research being led by Dr. Ohanian at MD Anderson:

Aim 1: Improve Survivorship in AML by preventing cardiac damage with the broad-spectrum metal detoxifier dexrazoxane during standard AML therapy.

Aim 2: Reduce long-term chemotherapy-related toxicities by rebalancing minerals and antioxidants during dexrazoxane therapy, as well as, during other types of metal detoxification combined with AML therapy.

Aim 3: Assess overall survival and remission duration with broad-spectrum metal detoxification and rebalancing during AML therapy.

Aim 4: Assess cancer-prevention effects of metal detoxification by assessing 6-month cytogenetic response and progression rate in newly diagnosed myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) patients undergoing metal detoxification combined with standard MDS therapy. (MDS is a pre-leukemia and the precursor of AML. Studying metal detoxification during MDS is an ideal model for studying cancer prevention.)

Aim 5: Correlate metal and copper isotopic abundance ratios of MDS and AML patients with clinical data, conventional cytogenetics, extensive Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) (300-gene panel), exposure survey data, and clinical outcome data.

Coincidentally, as with the research Max Cure also just announced we funded at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the trial will initially target one cohort of patients with AML (acute myeloid leukemia).  Hopefully the results will demonstrate positive impacts that allow the trial and its principles to be expanded to other forms of childhood cancer where patients similarly face the prospect of acute life-long negative effects from the underlying treatments, including premature death.  Through the use of consistent monitoring of blood levels and the administration of metal detoxification and cardioprotective therapies, this is an ambitious effort with a potentially game changing outcome.  The overall implication and application for this research and clinical effort could possibly have far reaching impact upon future course of treatment and beyond.

The Max Cure Foundation with the partnership of the Connor Fund is proud to support these efforts.  Nowhere is our commitment to changing the story of childhood cancer more evident than through our efforts to support Dr. Ohanian and Dr. Aune’s efforts to improve the lives of those children labeled as survivors who are often forgotten but very much in peril as a result of the treatments used in the first place.