This autumn, events to raise awareness of childhood cancers and fundraise for research initiatives have been going on all over the country. Among initiatives relating to pediatric oncology, SIO is planning a discussion group at its conference and notes here new research relating to gastrointestinal acute graft versus host disease.


Meet-up: SIO is pleased to announce a pediatric oncology roundtable breakfast to take place during our annual conference in Miami. The meet-up is open to all interested conference participants and will take place on Sunday, November 6 from 7-8 a.m. The meeting will be hosted by SIO Board member Katherine Taromina, MS, LaC, of Columbia University Medical Center in New York, and Tracey Jubelirer, MD, of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. We hope to see you there.


New research: In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, SIO would like to highlight a recently awarded National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Cancer Institute (NCI) R01 grant to support the first double-blind randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effect of probiotics in preventing gastrointestinal acute graft versus host disease (aGvHD) in children undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation for a hematologic malignancy. Probiotics for Prevention of Acute Graft-vs-Host Disease in Children with Cancer will be open throughout the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), a NCI National Clinical Trial Network group.  Children and adolescents will be recruited from approximately 80 COG institutions. The probiotic, Lactobacillus plantarum or placebo will be administered to 454 children and adolescents undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation for a hematologic malignancy beginning with the initiation of conditioning.


Acute graft vs. host disease is a major cause of transplant-related morbidity and mortality. Elena J. Ladas, PhD, RD, one of the study’s principal investigators, says, “This study will provide a unique opportunity to evaluate the clinical benefit and mechanism of probiotics in preventing gastrointestinal aGvH.” It will be the first double-blind randomized, placebo-control trial to evaluate how probiotics prevent gastrointestinal aGvHD by measuring their proposed effects on the intestinal microbiota following pediatric stem cell transplantation. If probiotic prophylaxis proves efficacious, it may not only improve the quality of life for stem cell transplant recipients, but also extend the therapeutic application of stem cell transplant in curing other malignant and non-malignant diseases.