Albert Kheradpour, MD, chief of pediatric hematology/oncology at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, has received a $50,000 grant from St. Baldrick’s Foundation to support Loma Linda University Cancer Center care teams’ efforts to expand pediatric cancer patients’ access to more clinical trials. The Infrastructure Grant takes effect from January 1 through December 31, 2023.
"We appreciate St. Baldrick's Foundation for this funding that enables more of our pediatric cancer patients to benefit from clinical trials, often their best hope for a cure," said Kheradpour.
This new grant will support a Clinical Research Associate position at the Cancer Center to assist with the work needed to carry out clinical trials, including those associated with the Children's Oncology Group:
- Collecting protocol-specific subject questionnaires.
- Specimen collection.
- Processing and shipping.
- Obtaining the age of majority consent and submitting long-term follow-up data for more than 700 pediatric cancer patients who have participated in a clinical trial.
80% of children receiving treatment at Loma Linda University Health come from families that live in poverty and are uninsured, Kheradpour said. In addition, the nearest pediatric oncology clinical trial facilities would require 60 to 90 miles of extra travel to Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange Counties, creating an additional burden on low-income families.
Clinical trials benefit children by granting access to tests that cannot be done outside of a study and providing free medicine for the study’s duration, Kheradpour said. At the same time, participation of this local patient population in clinical trials is critical for identifying therapies that can alleviate health disparities and effectively treat all children, he said.
LLU Cancer Center has provided childhood cancer treatment with participation in the Children’s Oncology Group for more than 40 years. Kheradpour has received the St. Baldrick’s Foundation Infrastructure Grant five times since 2016, with a total of $245,675.93 in funding. Kheradpour said these cumulative grants have allowed the Cancer Center to participate in more Children’s Oncology Group clinical trials, continue a record of compliance with current and future protocols, and provide accurate data reported in the appropriate time frame required by the protocol.
"With this grant, we will be able to give more of our patients a better chance of facing cancer, as well as gain invaluable insights into advancing and improving their treatment,” Kheradpour said.