What You Fund
With 100% of every dollar raised, Kids Walk for MSK Kids supports research at MSK Kids.
$10 Million Raised Since 2001
In the past five years alone, Kids Walk for MSK Kids has raised nearly $5 million for pediatric cancer research, technologies, and clinical trials. This is possible because of our dedicated participants and generous donors, who give doctors and scientists the resources they need to turn new and promising research findings into better treatment options for kids with cancer at MSK Kids and around the world.
Every Dollar Funds Hope
Less than 5% of the National Cancer Institute’s budget goes to pediatric cancer research. The money raised by the Kids Walk for MSK Kids community helps fill this funding gap, fueling the breakthroughs and cures that every family hopes for.
Doctors and researchers at MSK Kids are united by a shared goal: to improve outcomes for children, teens, and young adults facing a cancer diagnosis while decreasing the long-term side effects of treatment. Thanks to Kids Walk for MSK Kids, that goal becomes more achievable each year.
Making an Impact Since 2001
Today, 85% of children with cancer will survive five years or more because of innovative clinical trials and advances in treatment — many of them made at MSK Kids.
For more than two decades, the Kids Walk for MSK Kids community has been a powerful part of this progress. The $9+ million we’ve raised together for pediatric cancer research has helped accelerate scientific discovery at MSK Kids.
Here are some of the promising research and initiatives that received funding from the 2021 Kids Walk for MSK Kids.
Pediatric Translational Medicine Program
What is the Pediatric Translational Medicine Program? Genetic mutations, which can be inherited or developed, are key drivers of many childhood cancers. MSK has been a leader in cancer genetics since the field’s inception several decades ago. The Pediatric Translational Medicine Program allows every child and young adult being cared for at MSK Kids to have their tumor closely studied for genetic mutations.
How are we making a difference? MSK Kids treats more children, teens, and young adults with cancer than any other hospital in the United States. In addition to providing world-class care to these patients, we take the information gathered from the clinic into the lab to learn even more about childhood cancers so that in the future, we can more precisely diagnose and match kids and young adults to the most effective treatment option available and learn why some kids develop the disease in the first place.
What’s the latest? In May 2022, MSK doctors shared results from a new whole-genome sequencing test that could transform how pediatric cancers are diagnosed and treated. Typical genetic sequencing looks for mutations within a number of cancer-associated genes in a tumor, and this has led to remarkable progress in our ability to precisely diagnose and treat adults with cancer.
But kids are different from adults, so it makes sense that pediatric cancers develop and behave differently than an adult disease. This is where whole-genome sequencing comes in: Instead of looking at a small set of genes, doctors at MSK Kids are analyzing every single gene in pediatric tumors and finding previously undetected mutations and potential targets for therapies.
Five years ago, this testing took 12 to 16 weeks. Today, MSK Kids can return results from whole-genome sequencing in less than two weeks — and less than one week in some urgent situations. This means that kids with cancer can be matched to the optimal treatment plan right away, improving their chances of having a brighter, healthier future.
The benefits of this new type of genetic testing were found to be so significant that MSK Kids is now offering it to every pediatric patient — something only possible through donor support.
What is Neuroblastoma? Neuroblastoma is a rare but aggressive cancer that develops in the sympathetic nervous system, the branch of the nervous system that connects organs to the brain and is responsible for the many adjustments and responses that our bodies undergo, particularly during times of stress, such as the fight-or-flight response. Because neuroblastoma arises from a type of cell that only exists very early in development, it is often diagnosed in young children, even infants, and can spread throughout the body.
How are we making a difference? MSK Kids cares for more kids with neuroblastoma than any other hospital in the world, and researchers are making huge strides in treating this disease. MSK Kids has developed treatments that have improved the survival rate for high-risk neuroblastoma from below 5% to nearly 50%.
What’s the latest? Funding from Kids Walk for MSK Kids helped researchers at MSK Kids develop and test two new drugs, naxitamab and omburtamab, which were both granted a Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the FDA. In clinical trials led by MSK Kids, these treatments were found to be so effective that the FDA prioritized their approval to help make them available to kids nationwide. Naxitamab is now FDA-approved, and omburtamab is in a pivotal phase 2 trial. These two important drugs provide real hope — and potentially even a cure — to kids with advanced neuroblastoma.
What is Leukemia? Leukemia is the most common pediatric cancer, representing about 30% of cancer diagnoses among kids and young adults. Leukemia begins when white blood cells, which normally help your body fight infection, grow out of control and change into cancer cells.
How are we making a difference? Doctors and researchers at MSK Kids pioneered treatment methods — including chemotherapy, radiation, molecular targeted therapy, bone marrow transplantation, and immunotherapy — that have dramatically increased long-term survival. Today, due in large part to the incredible work of MSK Kids doctors and scientists, about 90% of children diagnosed with leukemia can be cured. We are continuing to develop both safer treatment that avoids near and long-term side effects as well as new therapies to treat leukemia that is resistant to standard approaches or returns later in life.
What’s the latest? Kids Walk for MSK Kids funds pioneering clinical trials that aim to discover better treatment options for several forms of pediatric leukemia. There are currently 20 trials underway at MSK Kids that are testing different drugs and therapeutics for children and adults with leukemia.
Recently, MSK-led research and trials showed that a targeted therapy called a menin inhibitor has potential for treating people with acute myeloid leukemia with certain mutations. This drug, called SNDX-5613, helps turn leukemia cells back into healthy cells and led to positive responses in more than half of the participants in the initial trial. Based on this success, expanded trials are being conducted for both pediatric and adult patients.
Pediatric Fast Track
What is Pediatric Fast Track? This program is designed to speed up the clinical trial process and make lifesaving treatment options available for children with cancers that we know are susceptible to a particular experimental drug or one already approved for use in adult cancers. Funding from Kids Walk for MSK Kids allows clinicians and researchers to provide therapies with a clear potential to be effective, based on the science. This program helps kids benefit from drug discoveries at the same pace as adult patients, instead of waiting for dedicated pediatric studies.
How are we making a difference? Breaking down barriers to clinical trial participation or experimental use is key for giving many pediatric patients access to effective treatment. With fewer than 10% of all cancer drugs developed to treat pediatric cancers, Pediatric Fast Track could transform the number of drugs available for kids around the world. This leading-edge initiative gives researchers at MSK Kids the resources they need to adapt cancer therapies quickly and safely.
What’s the latest? Drugs that are already showing great results in a clinical trial for adults could be repurposed for children whose cancer is caused by the same genetic mutations. MSK Kids is working to move newly discovered drugs that work for adults into trials for kids faster than ever.
MSK Kids is also working to expand access to drugs approved for adults by lowering the age of clinical trials participation in some cases to 12 years old and by making very sick pediatric patients eligible for treatments originally created for other kinds of cancer to give them options that they didn’t have before.
What is Wilms’ tumor? Wilms’ tumor, also called nephroblastoma, is the most common kidney cancer in children, making up about 95% of childhood kidney cancers but only 6% of all childhood cancers. Overall, about 500 children in the United States are diagnosed with Wilms’ tumor each year, and most of them can be cured with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. But if the cancer is aggressive or comes back after treatment, it becomes much more difficult to treat.
How are we making a difference? Because Wilms’ tumor is so rare, most doctors have limited experience in caring for children who have it. However, MSK Kids has a long history of diagnosing and treating children with all types of kidney cancer, including Wilms’ tumor. In fact, doctors at MSK Kids treat about 4% of all Wilms’ tumor cases in the United States each year.
In addition to providing unparalleled expert care to kids with Wilms’ tumor, MSK Kids shares its research to improve treatment everywhere. MSK Kids publishes more findings about pediatric kidney tumors than most centers around the world, and our oncologists who specialize in this area serve on national committees that determine and update the standard of care for pediatric kidney tumors.
What’s the latest? MSK Kids researchers led the incredible discovery of a biomarker, a protein called PGBD5, that can tell doctors if there is a risk of a child’s Wilms’ tumor coming back. When detected in urine, high levels of PGBD5 can indicate whether a cancer recurrence is likely and that the cancer may not respond well to standard treatments. This can help guide treatments and allows doctors to match patients with targeted therapies better suited for their cancer.