Catching up with Dr. Andras Heczey

November 24, 2014

Along the Pablove Across America route, our team got the chance to catch up with Dr. Andras Heczey, Director of the Liver Tumor Center at Texas Children’s Hospital, and one of our 2014 Childhood Cancer Research Grantees. Read on for a short Q&A with Dr. Heczey about the novel treatments he is developing to redirect a child’s own immune system to attack cancer cells.

Jeff and Dr Heczey

Pablove: Why did you decide to focus your current work on pediatric liver cancers?

Andras Heczey, MD: Children with the liver cancers called hepatoblastoma and hepatocellular carcinoma are in urgent need of novel therapies, as conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy have limited efficacy and are both associated with significant toxicity. I find it really promising that by genetically engineering certain cells of the patients, we can now develop a safe and effective treatment that can eliminate these tumors and hopefully prevent the tumor from ever coming back.

Pablove: The project The Pablove Foundation is funding is called Glypican-3 specific T-cells for the Adoptive Immunotherapy of Pediatric Liver Cancers. Decode that for us.

AH: For a long time I have been fascinated by methods that can redirect the immune system to kill cancer cells. This project has the potential to change the way we treat children with hepatoblastoma and hepatocellular carcinoma and dramatically improve their outcomes.

Pablove: Our research grant provided the “start-up” investment in your idea. What are you working on now, and what’s next?

AH: Recently, we were able to find a novel way to target and kill hepatoblastoma and hepatocellular carcinoma cells in our laboratory. With the support of The Pablove Foundation, we will test this approach systematically in preclinical models to generate the needed data to move our approach from bench-to-bedside.

heczey presentation

Dr. Heczey informed our staff and the Pablove Across America riders that his research is going to translate data—quickly—into clinical trials and new treatments that could save the lives of children with liver cancers.

As Dr. Heczey mentioned above, the treatments available right now are simply not effective and are quite damaging, too. That’s why The Pablove Foundation is proud to fund his project.

For more reports and photos from Pablove Across America–and all of our efforts to fight childhood cancer with love—check out our Facebook page and the Pablove blog.


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