Cure 4 The Kids Foundation has officially opened their Preventative Healthcare Center

Cure 4 The Kids Foundation has officially opened the Robert and Dorothy Keyser Foundation and Cashman Family Foundation Preventative Healthcare Center.

It’s Nevada’s first pediatric physical medicine center.

It has more than 1400 square feet of space and a full-service gym with the latest therapy equipment.

The center is expected to help patients rehabilitate following surgeries and procedures, but it will also prevent secondary comorbidities from developing.

Cure 4 the Kids Foundation Tees up 9th Annual Golf 4 The Kids

Cure 4 the Kids Foundation Tees up 9th Annual Golf 4 The Kids

 

Cure 4 The Kids Foundation (C4K) is presenting its 9th Annual Golf 4 The Kids event on May 10 at the Private Mountain Course at Anthem Golf & Country Club’s spectacular Hale Irwin-Keith Foster designed par-72 championship golf course.

Funds raised at the event will provide direct support for patient care at Cure 4 The Kids Foundation, Nevada’s only pediatric cancer treatment center. The foundation’s Charity Care Program ensures that all patients receive the same top-quality medical care, including those who are uninsured, underinsured, or unable to pay for treatment.

“We’re inviting everyone here in Southern Nevada to join us and show their support, either as a player, as a donor or corporate sponsor, or as a volunteer,” said Karen Iglesias, vice president of philanthropy for Cure 4 The Kids Foundation. “Our goal for this year is to surpass the success of last year’s tournament, so we can continue our work to care for children in need.”

This year, the tournament’s presenting sponsor is MOFI, a strategy and growth company that partners with business leaders at leading companies who are ready to think boldly about new ideas and create strategies to better serve customers and employees. Other sponsors include Johnson & Johnson Law Firm, Roseman University of Health Sciences, Advanced Imaging Services (AIS), and Civil Werx.

The format for the tournament is a shotgun start at 9 a.m. A breakfast, snacks and beverages will be served on the course, along with course contests and hole prizes. Following the tournament, an awards luncheon with prizes galore will take place at the course’s pool. More information about the tournament, including online registration and sponsorships, can be found at www.cure4thekids.org.



Reading week celebrated at Cure 4 The Kids Foundation

In honor of Nevada Reading Week, the Logan family’s Dr. Suess-themed patient examination room will be dedicated with a “Grinch” character kicking off the festivities.

 

C4K currently offers 15 patient exam rooms, with the exam room sponsored by the Logan family being the fifth room themed with kid-friendly artwork designed to inspire and comfort young patients who visit weekly or monthly as part of their treatment regimen.

Other themed exam rooms include those honoring and created in partnership with entertainers Criss Angel and Gwen Stefani, Naqvi Injury Law and Hope Hyundai on Wheels. Juan Muniz, a local artist, is responsible for designing and painting all of the paintings so far. The illustrations and artwork are designed around the necessary medical equipment in the room. Special considerations include the use of microbial-resistant glossy paint that allows the room to be cleaned and sterilized.

Logan-Parker’s vision for starting C4K began when one of her two sons was in an accident years ago as a teen. The incident required multiple surgical interventions over four years, completely exhausting her medical benefits. She built C4K putting patients’ individual needs first and understanding the challenges families face in situations like these. Ultimately, research saved his life. This journey inspired much of her calling to ensure children receive the care they need, regardless of their ability to pay. It has also made her a huge proponent for clinical trials, as today’s trials are tomorrow’s best practices.

“I’m humbled by this recognition, knowing that it takes strength, resolve and motivation to translate adversity into something positive,” Logan-Parker said. “I’m the perfect example that some of the greatest community resources come from difficult and life-altering experiences.”



Cure 4 The Kids Foundation Ranks No. 4 Among Best Nonprofits to Work For

National award shines spotlight
on Nevada for quality health care

Cure 4 The Kids Foundation (C4K), Nevada’s only outpatient children’s cancer
center, ranked fourth in the 2021 Best Nonprofits to Work For. C4K is the only Nevada
organization to make the national list this year, improving its ranking from last year by 19 places.

 “We’re extremely proud to bring this award home and to be nationally recognized as one of the top five best nonprofits to work for,” said Annette Logan-Parker, CEO and founder of Cure 4 The Kids Foundation. “It demonstrates the dedication and passion our employees have for our mission and shows our dedication to the health and well-being of our team.”

 “We went to extraordinary lengths in the last year to keep our employees and their families safe during the pandemic,” added Logan-Parker. “Those lengths included providing additional benefits such as food and supplies to keep them safe and limit exposure, and an employee wellness initiative that demonstrated our genuine commitment to our employees. We need to always remember to take care of the caretakers.” 

The honor is significant both for C4K and for the entire state of Nevada. She said the coveted ranking shines a bright spotlight on Nevada as a place for quality healthcare and is a key indicator of the significant advances Cure 4 The Kids Foundation has brought to the state.

 According to the report, medium-sized organizations, those with 50 to 249 employees, accounted for nearly half of the 50 best nonprofits, with 24 honorees and in this category. C4K actually ranked second among nonprofits of this size. The survey and awards program are designed to identify, recognize and honor the best employers in the nonprofit industry, benefiting the economy, workforce and businesses.

 Las Vegas-based C4K made the annual list published by the NonProfit Times for the second straight year. NonProfit Times is the leading national business publication for nonprofit managers. It partners with Best Companies Group to identify nonprofit organizations where leaders have excelled in creating and maintaining workplace excellence. The list is made up of 50 organizations from around the country.

 Nonprofits from across the United States entered the two-part survey process to determine Best Nonprofits To Work For. Part one of the survey consisted of assessing each nominated organization’s workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems and demographics, while part two consisted of an employee survey to measure the overall employee experience. The combined scores determined the top nonprofits and the final ranking.

 



Cure 4 The Kids Foundation announced Jennifer Buitrago as its Chief Nursing Officer.

Cure 4 The Kids Foundation announces Jennifer Buitrago as Chief Nursing Officer.

“Jennifer has long been a part of the C4K family and is known for her commitment to patient care,” said Annette Logan-Parker, founder, president and CEO of C4K. “She brings decades of nursing experience to our organization that will continue to build our legacy of nursing excellence by caring with compassion. This affords us the opportunity of advancing the science of nursing and advocating for the health of our patients, families, and community alike.”

Buitrago is responsible for supervision and leadership of all nursing activities, planning, organizing and directing overall nursing and patient care services. The CNO also ensures compliance with patient care quality standards, maintains performance improvement activities within the department, participates in quality improvement report activities and ensures competency of all nursing personnel. She will also focus on diagnostic procedures, safety and quality of the patient experience and alignment of the nursing strategic plan.

“I’m honored to be the chief nursing officer at C4K,” Buitrago said. “Cure 4 The Kids Foundation offers the highest level of care for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases, and I’m thrilled to be leading our world-class team of nursing professionals.”

Buitrago’s nursing experience includes working as an inpatient bone marrow transplant nurse practitioner at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and as a pediatric nurse practitioner at

Comprehensive Cancer Center of Nevada and at C4K. She earned her undergraduate nursing degree from the University of Southern California and her advanced practice degree in nursing from UCLA and has been a pediatric hematology, oncology, and bone marrow transplant nurse for 20 years.

Cure 4 The Kids Foundation, Andre Agassi Foundation for Education and CCSD Announce New Learning Center for Pediatric Cancer Patients

Cure 4 The Kids Foundation has announced a first-of-its-kind educational partnership within the State of Nevada to help pediatric cancer patients – and others with catastrophic conditions – advance their educational progress while receiving life-saving treatments.

The Andre Agassi Foundation For Education Learning Center is located in the same building as Cure 4 The Kids Foundation. It will provide patients with direct access to a licensed Clark County School District (CCSD) teacher. CCSD educator Jennifer Morris along with a teacher’s aide will work throughout the school year to assist patients before and after clinic appointments.

Generous funding from the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education will cover the Learning Center’s build-out, operating costs, supplies, educational software and equipment and more.


”The Learning Center is something I’ve dreamed of providing to our patients for years, but we haven’t been in a position to offer it until now,” said Annette Logan-Parker, president and CEO, Cure 4 The Kids Foundation. “Thankfully, some inspired individuals and groups have stepped forward to help us make this happen.”

Through its support of the Learning Center, the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education continues its mission to improve the lives of underserved youth by providing educational opportunities.

“Cure 4 The Kids Foundation does an amazing job of caring for kids with pediatric cancer and other long-term illnesses,” said Julie Pippenger, COO, Andre Agassi Foundation for Education. “The move to add an educational and resource component to their list of priorities while caring for these young patients is just another example of the level of commitment and compassion Cure 4 The Kids Foundation has for these children and their families.  The Andre Agassi Foundation for Education is proud to be a founding partner and supporter of the Learning Center.”


As a CCSD educator, Morris will have access to CCSD curriculum and teaching materials and will offer a full range of educational and support services for Cure 4 The Kids Foundation patients and their families. All educational assistance offered during the Learning Center’s first semester will be provided virtually in recognition of COVID-19 guidelines. Even with those safeguards, Morris will provide virtual one-on-one tutoring, interactive lessons and activities, parental and patient support for the Canvas educational delivery program, and other general education needs.

“At a time when our children are facing so many challenges and hardships in their lives, their schooling shouldn’t be one of them,” said Jennifer Morris, CCSD educator. “Our goal in the Learning Center is to offer our students a balance of educational activities, supports, and a lot of fun so that when they are ready to resume their regular schooling, the transition is smooth and successful.”

Patients will schedule sessions in the Learning Center before or after their clinic visits, as well as during frequent chemotherapy infusions, which can take hours to complete. The Clark County School District is covering the cost of Morris’ salary during the school year“This learning center is an important step to ensure normalcy in the lives of our courageous children by providing them and their parents with access to an educator and other resources to assist with their specific education needs,” said CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus F. Jara, “CCSD is proud to partner with Cure 4 The Kids Foundation to support our brave students and their families going through this particularly challenging time.”

One of the principal advocates of the Learning Center is Ellen Bordinhao, a retired teacher who spent 33 years with CCSD. Her daughter, Janie, was a Cure 4 The Kids Foundation patient and a teacher, who dreamed of having a position where she could work with children battling cancer. Through her daughter’s 20-month medical journey, Ellen saw firsthand the difficulty families faced addressing their child’s educational needs while also battling a devastating disease. Sadly, Janie passed away on January 15, 2019, but Ellen and her family are determined to have Janie’s legacy live on and benefit other patients. In honor of Janie, a portion of the Learning Center is named Janie’s Classroom.


“Our family is so grateful for the medical care Janie received at Cure 4 The Kids Foundation,” said Ellen Bordinhao. “It’s my job to pay it forward in memory of my beautiful daughter. I am honored to be doing this work.”

The Andre Agassi Foundation for Education Learning Center is a vital benefit for children undergoing treatment for cancer and other long-term conditions. Pediatric patients are unable to attend class while in treatment because their immune systems are compromised, and a typical classroom environment could be life-threatening. As a result, patients often fall behind in their educational studies during the months and years of treatment.

Pictured L to R: Alan Ikeda, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Cure 4 The Kids Foundation; Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara, Clark County School District; Ellen Bordinhao, Janie Strong Foundation; Steve Miller, President & CEO, Andre Agassi Foundation for Education; Annette Logan-Parker, President & CEO, Cure 4 The Kids Foundation, Julie Pippenger, COO, Andre Agassi Foundation for Education

Hablo Espanol = I Speak Spanish

Hablo Español = I speak Spanish.

For a significant number of our patient families, the challenge of fully understanding medical treatments and sometimes complicated explanations are even more difficult. That’s because either the patient or family members speak a native language other than English.

As a medical facility, this issue is vital because clear communication with patients and their families is essential to everything we do.

It was an employee who approached Patient Experience Director Katherine “Kat” Salkanovic that triggered an idea to help address the needs of these families. After hearing the concept, Kat wondered, could something as simple as a button that says Hablo Español help?

It turns out it did!

Salkanovic says she’s had patient family members come to her with tears in their eyes thanking her for identifying those employees who can assist them in the Spanish language.

“We have a lot of patients who speak Spanish, and we know that having the ability to speak to someone in their native language is helpful, reassuring, and builds trust. We also have many employees who speak Spanish. Still, there was nothing suggesting they speak Spanish – so this was an easy way to let our patient families easily recognize those who can help them,” said Salkanovic.

There are about 20 employees who wear buttons. They include nurses, medical assistants, and providers, and you’ll find them throughout the clinic, including the front desk, and at check-out.

For those patient families who speak a language other than Spanish, Cure 4 The Kids Foundation also provides access to a translation program that offers language assistance for medical appointments in more than 200 different languages. Anyone with questions about this service can learn more when they check-in at the front desk.

Meet Katherine Salkanovic, Director of Patient Experience

Meet Katherine Salkanovic, Director of Patient Experience 

Some of our best employees at Cure 4 The Kids Foundation have had the opportunity to grow in their careers at the same time our organization has grown.

A perfect example of this kind of opportunity can be found in our Director of Patient Experience Katherine Salkanovic, who often goes by Kat.

Did you know Kat originally wanted to be an accountant? In fact, in one of her first positions in the organization in Credentialing, she was shadowing Christine Tonn, the chief financial officer of Cure 4 The Kids Foundation, to whom she also became the Executive Assistant. Although Accounting was her focus at that time, the more she learned about the organization, the more she knew her future was about to change.

Cure 4 The Kids: Accounting is what originally brought you to Cure 4 The Kids Foundation.  What was it about our organization that made you think you might want to be involved in other areas?

I was drawn to Cure 4 The Kids Foundation from the start. Prior to joining C4K, I worked for over 8 years at another non-profit cancer center. When they were forced to close their doors, I knew I wanted to stay in the non-profit sector, and I knew it had to be a cancer clinic. 

You see, I lost my dad to cancer when I was 22 years old, and we had a very traumatic and negative experience. Since that day – I promised to myself that I would do everything in my power to change the way Patient Experience is delivered – I wanted to change the world. I saw C4K as the place where I could do it and make a difference. This is a place that was built around an experience, and excellence was their goal. I wanted to be a part of the place that set the bar so high. There was nowhere else I wanted to be! While I did have an Associate’s in Accounting from Santiago, Chile, I was unable to transfer my credits here. For me, Accounting was the easy path, but I learned very quickly that I belonged somewhere else.

Cure 4 The Kids: You had some heart-to-heart talks with CEO Annette Logan-Parker about your future when you understood that accounting may not be your ultimate career goal.  What advice did she give you and what actions did that lead to?

 I just can’t say enough about Annette. She’s such an amazing leader, but also, she’s such wonderful human being. She has the gift to see into people’s souls, and she astonish us all with her ability to see the best in people every time.

I swear, she knew what I wanted, before I knew it myself.

She knew about my dad and about my calling, so she asked me “what do you want to do” and I responded, “I want to change the world”. She understood, so she helped me with a path that could make me run the department where we get to make the all changes that affect Patient Experience – we get to change the world!

Annette encouraged me to pursue my bachelor’s degree (which I switched careers to healthcare management!), and become a Certified Patient Experience Professional. I was the second person in the state to hold this very prestigious certification.

Cure 4 The Kids: You were Cure 4 The Kids Foundation’s first-ever Patient Experience Manager, and now you are the director of that department. In many ways, this position seems like it was tailor-made for you.  What it is about your job you find most satisfying?

 

It does feel like this role was tailor-made for me.

Having had a very negative experience when my dad got diagnosed with cancer and later when he lost his battle to this horrible disease gave me a front row seat to “what not to do”. I don’t want any family or patient to go through what I went through.

What I enjoy the most about my job is that I get to spend my days with the most amazing kids in the world. Getting to create policies and procedures that makes their visit a positive experience its just a plus.

Knowing that we are educating families on what to expect from a healthcare provider and to not accept any less is truly rewarding. Families deserve to receive the best care possible, with compassion, empathy, and respect – and in a language they can understand.

It is my job to build that trust, and it’s a job that I treasure with everything within me.

Cure 4 The Kids: You recently earned your Master’s in Business Administration degree with an emphasis in Healthcare.  It’s tough to work full-time, manage a family at home, and pursue a degree.  It’s also a great accomplishment! Do you have advice to others who may be thinking about obtaining additional education while balancing a lot of responsibilities?

 It was tough, I am not going to lie. And there were times where I wanted to give up, specially after failing one of my classes. I remember walking into Annette’s office and telling her that I was deeply disappointed in myself because I had failed my final statistics exam. She gave me a warm smile and said “that’s great Kat! Failing builds character, and in the long run, this will make you a better leader! Did you know that the most successful bankers are hired because they have failures documented on their careers? Get up, dust yourself off, and do it again!”

So, my advice is: Don’t stop. It’s ok to fail, but its not ok give up. It will be hard, and it be challenging – but truly, all the best things in life are too.

Cure 4 The Kids Note: Katherine was chosen to be a featured speaker at the upcoming Next Generation Patient Experience Annual Conference. This virtual gathering of America’s top minds is aimed at sharing ideas, networking, and learning about the latest technology that are improving patient experience in the medical field.

Welcome, Mary Lehoux! Cure 4 The Kids Foundation’s Registered Play Therapist

Many of you have probably seen Mary around the clinic. We wanted to officially welcome her to Cure 4 The Kids Foundation and find out a little more about the services she provides to patients. Mary’s title is behavioral health counselor, however, her license, credentials, and training allow her to provide specific practices and tools that we know will be immensely helpful to many of our patients.

Mary is a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC) and a registered play therapist (RPT). She graduated with a Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in Clinical Psychology, so her credentials appear after her name like this: Mary Lehoux, M.A., LCPC, RPT.

Play therapy may not be as well known as other forms of therapy, so we wanted to gain a greater understanding of the practice and how it can benefit patients.

Cure 4 The Kids Foundation: Play therapy may be somewhat new to patients and parents. Can you help us understand the purpose of play therapy and how it helps a patient?

Mary Lehoux: Of course! In simple terms, child play therapy is a way of being with the child that honors their unique developmental level. In my play sessions, I therapeutically use play to assist in addressing the goals of each patient (most often children ages three to 12 years) and their family, to help them improve their ability to express themselves and resolve their problems.

For those seeking a more clinical explanation: the Association for Play Therapy defines play therapy as “the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth the development.”

Cure 4 The Kids Foundation: How is play therapy different from regular play?

Mary Lehoux: Play therapy differs from regular play in that the therapist helps children to address and resolve their problems. Through play therapy, children learn to communicate with others, express feelings, modify behavior, develop problem-solving skills, and learn a variety of ways of relating to others.

Cure 4 The Kids Foundation: In your opinion, why can play therapy be more advantageous than talk therapy?

Mary Lehoux: Play therapy is an evidence-based approach that is ideal for most young children because it is a way of delivering therapy in the “language” of the child (play). So, in the same way that talk therapy is a helpful way for some patients to communicate and process experiences, play therapy is another way to communicate and process these experiences at the level of the child. Play therapy also benefits patients by providing a safe psychological distance from their problems and allows expression of thoughts and feelings appropriate to their development.

Cure 4 The Kids Foundation: How do you see your skills being helpful to patients?

Mary Lehoux: I engaged in extensive training and supervision to acquire the Registered Play Therapist credential. My background and training in play therapy includes both non-directive and directive approaches, which enables me to offer our patients and families a therapeutic setting that provides a sense of control, fosters freedom of expression, and teaches skills that promote emotional well-being and healing.

Cure 4 The Kids Foundation: Are you able to assist families of patients as well?

Mary Lehoux: Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels is the organization that has made this service possible, and allows me to provide therapy for any of our patients AND their family members. Amanda Hope’s mission made accessibility to therapy a priority for all children and families involved in our clinic.

Cure 4 The Kids Foundation: If a parent is interested in learning more about play therapy and whether it may benefit their child, what is the best way to reach out?

Mary Lehoux: Parents can reach out to their providers, or anyone in the clinic, and ask for Mary Lehoux. I can provide parents with informational brochures that detail more information about play therapy. Parents can also look online at www.a4pt.org for more information. I am in the clinic during regular business hours. I can often visit with patients and their families during their clinic visit, and help determine if play therapy would be beneficial for them.

Cure 4 The Kids Foundation: Thank you!

As Mary mentioned, Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels underwrite the cost of this incredible resource for patients of Cure 4 The Kids Foundation and their families. We wanted to find out a bit more about the organization and why they feel Mary’s services are so important. We spoke with Lorraine Tallman, who is the CEO and Founder of Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels, based in Phoenix, Arizona, and Kelley Nemiro, Chair of the Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels Nevada Advisory Committee.

Kelley: We wanted to provide Cure 4 The Kids Foundation access to a play therapist because we believe that healing goes so much further beyond the physical. With childhood cancer, the entire family takes a huge hit mentally and emotionally, and we wanted to make sure that all members were cared for, seen, and heard throughout the treatment journey.

Lorraine: I’ve met many Nevada warriors in Phoenix who were getting transplants and treatment. I have friends in Nevada as well, and I discovered our programs could bless several thousand children. Amanda, whose childhood cancer journey prompted the creation of our organization, dreamed of “Dignity and Respect” for patients like her, and advocating that “all questions are good” as a result of her experience. She felt it was important that patients have the coping skills to fight fear and to know that you have an entire community by your side your entire journey.

Cure 4 The Kids Foundation: We’ll encourage everyone to find out more about Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels by going to your website, but help us understand a little more about Amanda.

Lorraine: Amanda knew that connections with other warrior families was critical, and making the most of everyday was important – including planning a memory for each day. It could be planning a play date, a weekend away, working on crafts, a shopping day to use a gift card that was given to her, or spending time with friends that would come to see her or she would visit another child. Amanda was all about recognizing the small victories every day. Wake up every day- get dressed- believe and hope- smile- find laughter. Pray and listen to happy music. Every little thing helps.  Amanda would say, “Big hugs,” and her sweet hug could bring me through anything.

Kelley: My experience in working with Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels and learning about Amanda is that in any time of difficulty, slowing down and taking joy and gratitude in the little things can always bring light to a dark situation. Having faith and hope is so important.

Cure 4 The Kids Foundation: I was surprised to learn that despite all the challenges going on with her cancer journey, Amanda was also thinking about how to provide patients a greater sense of dignity when undergoing chemotherapy.

Lorraine: Amanda hated her body being exposed to everyone in a chemo clinic, so she had a dream to have a tee-shirt with peek-a-boo pockets for all of the tubes that came out of her body. By having to lift or take off her shirt for all to see, there was a loss of dignity, and in many ways, Amanda felt that her voice was taken away. Her experience led to this: Comfycozy for Chemo. It empowers our children to have a choice in their care, and in some cases has allowed for fewer drugs needed to calm patients down when their port is accessed. Voice and choice is a fantastic gift to a child who is fighting for their life.

Kelley: Through the shirt, we feel we are creating a situation that upholds dignity and respect for the children. The zippers at the collar provide easy port access, so the child does not have to undress to get labs drawn or have a treatment done. They also come in a bunch of fashionable styles for children of all ages.

Cure 4 The Kids Foundation: Thank you for all you do to support Cure 4 The Kids Foundation!

Learn more about Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels

Patients can apply for a Comfycozy for Chemo shirt

Dr. Alan Discusses Research

When it comes to childhood cancer and many other life-threatening conditions, research has been at the forefront of bringing more effective treatments and better patient outcomes.

Cure 4 The Kids Foundation is dedicated to participating in clinical research if it is in the best interest of the patient, and if it helps patients in the future.

With that in mind, we spoke with Cure 4 The Kids Foundation’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Alan Ikeda about some research basics:

C4TK: Is there a difference between a clinical trial and a protocol?

Dr. Alan: The purpose of the clinical trial may be to determine the safety, efficacy, or a comparison of  particular medications or treatment regimens.

A protocol relates to the instructions on how to run a clinical trial. If the clinical trial is completed, then the protocol may still be utilized as a guideline to treat patients who have the target disease. For example, the protocol would dictate when you do a check-up on the patient involved in the clinical trial, or when you check their labs, when to give what chemotherapy, etc.

C4TK: There are different phases of clinical trials, can you help explain?

Dr. Alan: A phase 1 clinical trial determines the safety of a treatment or medication.  Before a drug gets to a phase 1 clinical trial, it has passed a level of testing to determine that it should progress to the phase 1 stage. These are often first in human testing of a drug. Previous testing can include testing at the molecular or cellular level and even with human tissue models — or a combination of all. According to the FDA, a phase 1 clinical trials are usually limited to 20 to 100 participants.

If the phase 1 trial is deemed successful, it moves onto phase 2.  A phase 2 trial involves a larger group of people —  up to several hundred — and the study can be up to two years in length. What researchers continue to focus on is whether the medication is safe and whether it is having an effect on the patient’s condition. There are often Phase I/II trials that combine testing the safety and efficacy. This format has been beneficial to advance the progress of medicine to get new medications on a quicker track to the bedside.

If successful in phase 2, the clinical trial moves onto phase 3. The vast majority of interventional clinical trial participation by oncology patients at Cure 4 The Kids Foundation are  in phase 3 trials.  In phase 3, there can be as many as 3,000 patients in the study and it may continue for  years. Researchers are continuing to monitor the effectiveness of the medication and check for any adverse reactions.

C4TK: Do you always recommend a patient participate in a clinical trial if they are eligible?

Dr. Alan: It certainly depends on the study as to whether I would recommend a patient to participate. We do evaluate the scientific value of each study before we ever decide to open a trial at Cure 4 The Kids Foundation. There must be some reasonably attainable and meaningful research goals for us to participate. We also want to be certain we will be able to collect data and have an outcome that we can measure — otherwise, there is no sense in participating. If it meets those goals, we will encourage patients to take part.

One reason we can treat and cure so many patients is due to clinical trials of the past. If you look back to just before I was born in the 1960s and 70s, the chances for a cure in children’s cancer were very poor — much less than 10 percent.  Now we have an overall cancer cure rate of about 85 percent for all Pediatric Oncology patients.  That is a direct result of clinical trials.

C4TK: These clinical studies often originate out of large teaching hospitals in large metropolitan centers.  Will Cure 4 The Kids Foundation ever develop a clinical trial of its own?

Dr. Alan:  Part of our mission and vision at Cure 4 The Kids Foundation is to advance medical technology. We plan to continue participating in clinical trials but also would like to develop new things here.

We have a collaborative venture with Roseman University of Health Sciences. I would like to build our program so that we can have academicians, including bench and translational researchers join our program. We look forward to having some collaborative efforts with Roseman and have new, cutting edge, and innovative studies here in Las Vegas.

C4TK: Can you define bench research?

Dr. Alan: Bench research looks a lot like what people may see on television, including working with beakers and flasks in a laboratory. Often, it will include working with genes, molecular pathways, or cellular level testing and looking at things farther away from the human being.  These are things that are typically done on the lab bench and thus the term: bench research. It may also be referred to as basic research or wet lab.

You can find additional information about the clinical studies Cure 4 The Kids Foundation patients are currently involved with by going to cure4thekids.org/research page