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Med school to fight childhood cancer

 Two Tulane Medical School doctors recently received grants from Hyundai Hope on Wheels, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting childhood cancer, to fund their cancer research.
 
Since its founding in 1998, Hope on Wheels has given $43 million to pediatric cancer research and other projects that improve the quality life of cancer-afflicted children and of survivors.
 
“We are committed to funding important research that can help find a cure for childhood cancer, and we realize that there is a vast need for programs that also address the late effects that survivors experience from their treatments,” said Zafar Brooks, director of corporate social responsibility for Hyundai Motor America.
 
Tamuella Singleton, the chief of pediatric hematology and oncology at Tulane Medical School, received a $100,000 grant to research the long-term effects of treatment on childhood cancer survivors. With the grant money, Singleton will open a long-term clinic in December to follow childhood cancer survivors into adulthood and examine possible adverse effects of treatment. 
 
Singleton said treatment may have more of an impact on children who still have 50 or more years of life ahead after beating cancer, leaving more time for secondary problems to develop.
 
"I see that my patients are cured and in remission and doing well overall, but they experience complications that I feel helpless to help them with or that I don't know about," Singleton said.
 
 Singleton also said she is interested in researching a variety of complications that may arise later in life from receiving cancer treatment as a child. For example, some chemotherapeutic agents are known to increase risk of heart failure or predispose patients to a secondary malignancy.
 
"Is there something we can do to catch it earlier?” Singleton asked. “Is there something we can do to prevent it? We think there is."
 
Julie Kanter, assistant professor of pediatric hematology and oncology, received a grant of $40,000 grant to study the neurocognitive effects of treatment in survivors of childhood brain cancer.
 
“Looking at the late effects of cancer treatment is a new area of study, because we’re having greater success with treatment, but we still don’t know what the treatment does in the long term,” Kanter said.
 
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