Cancer Survivorship Center

Cancer Survivorship Research and Innovations

At the Cancer Survivorship Center, the care we provide is guided by research.

When the first wave of effective pediatric cancer treatments took off in the 1980s, the medical community didn’t know about the lasting effects of those therapies. But thanks to the efforts of researchers who have followed those patients, monitored their health and studied the prevalence of late effects, we have a much deeper understanding of the long-term impact of childhood cancer treatments.

By applying what we’ve learned over several decades, we’re improving short- and long-term outcomes among survivors. For example:

  • By proving a link between certain cancer treatments and future medical complications such as infertility, oncologists have adjusted how we treat today’s pediatric cancer patients. This reduces their risk of complications.
  • Because we now have long-term data on tens of thousands of childhood cancer survivors, we can see if certain people have a higher risk of developing certain late effects. In those cases, we can use different treatment approaches to minimize those risks.
  • By knowing what late effects someone is likely to develop, we can screen for them often—and intervene early.

Because our providers are also researchers, you can feel confident that the recommendations we make (and the care we provide) are based on the latest scientific evidence.

Cancer Survivorship Research at Cincinnati Children’s

While we continue studying the effects of childhood cancer treatments on people who are now past middle age, we’re also starting to look at the future impact of the latest therapies.

Within the last 10 years, the arrival of new pediatric cancer treatments such as proton therapy, tyrosine kinase inhibitor/biologic agents and immunotherapy have given children even more lifesaving options. But once again, it’s too early to tell how these treatments may affect survivors when they’re older.

That’s why our team is hard at work leading research that may further improve pediatric cancer treatments, and reduce—or prevent—late effects.

Our recent and ongoing projects include the following studies:

  • Exploring the link between systemic (whole body) chemotherapy and lower urinary tract problems in male cancer survivors.
  • Investigating the risk of blood vessel damage in certain organs, such as the kidneys and brain, following bone marrow transplantation.
  • Assessing strategies to prevent heart problems in children, teens and young adults undergoing a certain type of chemotherapy.
  • Measuring the impact of bone cancer on a survivor’s ability to take part in various physical activities.
  • Confirming whether the presence of a certain protein in females who survived Hodgkin’s lymphoma predicts their risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Assessing the risk of infertility from therapy and connecting patients with our fertility experts
  • Assessing risk of cardiac dysfunction in children treated for brain tumors
  • Investigating the risk of damage to the kidneys in children treated for brain tumors

We’re also among a handful of medical centers participating in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS), a national initiative founded in 1994. Thanks to funding from multiple organizations, including the National Institutes of Health, the CCSS follows the long-term health of more than 26,000 childhood cancer survivors—and counting.

Cincinnati Children’s serves as the “biorepository” for the CCSS network. Led by Stella Davies, MBBS, PhD, the biorepository stores biological specimens (such as blood and saliva samples) collected from patients enrolled in the study.