Hundreds of Texas Children’s supporters attended The Forum Luncheon in Houston on November 13. Hosted by The Development Department, the event focused on the success of the Texas Children’s Cancer Center and featured stories from two cancer survivors as well as an in-depth conversation between Cancer Center Director Dr. David Poplack and Fox 26 Morning News Co-Anchor Melissa Wilson.
Poplack’s conversation with Wilson illustrated how far the Cancer Center has come in helping children with cancer, growing from six faculty, 42 employees, one laboratory and less than $300,000 in grant funding when Poplack joined the center in 1993 to a center that now has 190 faculty, more than 900 employees, 46 laboratories and about $40 million a year in peer reviewed grant funding.
“We have become the largest and we believe the finest children’s cancer program in the country,” Poplack said. “Through our many research advances, our development of exciting, effective, new therapies and most recently through our burgeoning global program, we are having a far-reaching impact on the field.”
Poplack emphasized the need for children to be treated in children’s hospitals like Texas Children’s, which has expert multi-disciplinary teams equipped to tend to all aspects of a child’s care. As the largest pediatric cancer center in the U.S., we provide individualized, state-of-the-art medical treatment for patients with childhood cancer, he said.
“Treating children from more than 35 states and 26 countries, we aim to provide the most family-centered, advanced care available,” Poplack added. “In addition to continued excellence and leadership in treating all forms of pediatric cancer, we continue to expand and grow to better serve our patients.”
Poplack stressed that even with dramatic improvements in treating children with cancer – increasing the survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent – the disease still is the leading cause of death from disease in children in the nation.
That’s why Texas Children’s Cancer Center is vigilant in its research efforts, especially in the areas of developmental therapeutics, precision oncology and cell therapy and immunotherapy.
“We are dedicated to developing effective treatments for the 20 percent of childhood cancers that are most difficult to treat,” he said. “We won’t quit until we find a cure, and even then, we will move forward to find better ways to help fulfill the long-term needs of childhood cancer survivors.”