Professor Andy Pearson (Chair)

Prof Andy Pearson is formerly a Cancer Research UK Professor of Paediatric Oncology, at the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital NHS Trust. During a long and distinguished career, he helped establish and led many key groups in the paediatric oncology landscape both nationally and internationally. Prof Pearson authored the first international guidelines for the conduct of Phase I trials in children with cancer, and led the first paediatric Phase I study in the UK. He was the founding chair of International Society for Paediatric Oncology Europe Neuroblastoma Committee (SIOPEN) and the Chief Investigator of the BEACON Trial; the first ever randomised European study for children with refractory/relapsed neuroblastoma.

He has held many international positions of influence; including Executive membership of the Innovative Therapy for Children with Cancer Consortium (ITCC), Board membership of SIOPEN, Co-Chair of the International Neuroblastoma Risk Group Strategy (INRG), and membership of the Steering Committee of the multi-stakeholder CDDF – ITCC – SIOPE Paediatric Oncology Platform (ACCELERATE). He has published over 350 scientific manuscripts.

He retired from clinical practice in May 2014 due to ill health. Prof Pearson is an eminent figure in the fields of drug development and neuroblastoma research and was awarded a Life Time Achievement Award from Advances in Neuroblastoma Research in 2016.

Prof Pearson has been instrumental in establishing our Scientific Advisory Board and is an advocate at every level for children affected by neuroblastoma.

Dr John Maris (Vice-Chair)

Dr John Maris is Giulio D’Angio Professor of Pediatrics in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). He has focused on neuroblastoma for over three decades with the dual goals of improving patient outcomes, and using the disease as a model to understand cancer in general.

Dr Maris’ research has focused on hereditary neuroblastoma, and his laboratory discovered the vast majority of the known neuroblastoma susceptibility genes through both family-based and genome-wide association study approaches. Dr Maris’ laboratory has also defined the genomic landscape of neuroblastomas at diagnosis and during clonal evolution. These studies have led to the discovery and validation of biomarkers of patient outcomes, as well as novel therapeutic strategies.

In parallel, Dr Maris has focused on improving neuroblastoma patient outcomes by working with his team to develop the preclinical rationale and then designing innovative clinical trials for a variety of small molecular, targeted radiotherapeutic, and more recently immunotherapeutic strategies. Their discovery that ALK is the most commonly mutated gene was rapidly translated into ongoing clinical trials though their preclinical programmes.

Dr Maris is recognised as a leading expert in the field of paediatric oncology and serves on several Scientific Advisory Boards and Committees, including for the National Cancer Institute, the American Association for Cancer Research, Genome Canada, the Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon panel, and many private foundations.

Dr Juliet Gray

Dr Juliet Gray is an Associate Professor in Paediatric Oncology at the Cancer Immunology Centre, University of Southampton. She leads a translational research group focused on novel antibody immunotherapies for neuroblastoma, including preclinical evaluation of novel combinational therapies as well as early phase clinical trials.

Dr Gray’s specific research interests are in targeting anti-GD2 monoclonal antibodies, and immunomodulatory antibodies such as those targeting PD-1. She has developed the laboratory support and immune endpoint assays within the Southampton Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre, required to support early phase immunotherapy studies.

Dr Gray was the UK Chief Investigator and member of the Trial Steering Committee for the SIOPEN Long Term Infusion of ch14.18 (anti-GD2) monoclonal antibody in children with relapsed/refractory neuroblastoma and is the Chief Investigator of the first ever transatlantic neuroblastoma study to open in the UK – a multi-centre Phase I trial combining targeted radiation therapy and two immune therapies (131-I MIBG, Nivolumab and ch14.18/CHO) for the treatment of children with relapsed or refractory neuroblastoma.

Dr Gray plays a key role in both UK and European neuroblastoma research. She is a member of the UK National Cancer Research Institute Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Clinical Studies Group (NCRI CCL CSG) and neuroblastoma subgroup, Executive Member of the European Neuroblastoma Research Network (SIOPEN), and member of the SIOPEN Immunotherapy Committee.

Dr Lucas Moreno

Dr Lucas Moreno is a paediatric oncologist dedicated to early phase clinical trials and neuroblastoma. He trained in La Fe Hospital (Valencia, Spain), and started his career in the Royal Marsden Hospital (London, UK) back in 2008, under the mentorship of Prof Andy Pearson.

In April 2013, he created the Clinical Research Unit for Paediatric Phase I/II Trials at Hospital Niño Jesús in Madrid, Spain, a centre that is part of the Innovative Therapies for Children with Cancer (ITCC) European consortium, and focuses on the design and development of first-in-child phase I trials and early clinical trials of molecularly targeted agents and immunotherapeutics. The Unit currently provides service for early clinical trials in Paediatric Oncology, Haematology, Stem Cell Transplantation and Supportive Care and is expanding its portfolio to other Paediatric Specialties.

Dr Moreno is the international Chief Investigator of the randomised phase 2 trial BEACON-Neuroblastoma open in 10 European countries for refractory/relapsed neuroblastoma, and has participated in the development of more than 30 early phase clinical trials for paediatric cancers. He has led the development of pharmacodynamic biomarkers for PI3K inhibitors in neuroblastoma which are now ready to be implemented in early clinical trials. He is also invited investigator at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) and is running several projects in neuroblastoma drug development.

Dr Moreno chairs the Drug Development Group and is a member of the Executive Committee of the European Neuroblastoma Network (SIOPEN), and is a member of the Clinical Trials Committee of the ITCC consortium.

Dr Steven DuBois

Dr. DuBois completed medical school and pediatric training at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He completed pediatric oncology training at Dana-Farber / Boston Children’s Hospital and obtained a Master of Science in Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health. He is currently an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. He is the Director of Experimental Therapeutics at Dana-Farber / Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center where he leads a program designed to bring new targeted therapies to children with cancer.

Dr. DuBois leads an active clinical and translational research program focused on patients with advanced neuroblastoma and Ewing sarcoma. He conducts clinical trials of novel targeted agents relevant to these diseases, including national phase 1, 2, and 3 clinical trials. He also studies new biomarkers that improve our understanding of the biology of pediatric solid tumors and of the pharmacodynamic effects of targeted therapies.

Dr. DuBois has served on a number of national committees, including the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) Neuroblastoma Steering Committee, COG Bone Tumor Committee, COG Developmental Therapeutics Executive Committee, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Scientific Program Committee, and the US FDA Pediatric Oncology Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC).

Dr Julie Park

Julie R. Park, MD is attending physician at Seattle Children’s Hospital, professor in pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine and associate in the Clinical Research Division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC). She is director of the pediatric hematology-oncology fellowship at the University of Washington.

Dr. Park is an active member of the Children’s Oncology Group Consortium and as chair of the COG Neuroblastoma Scientific Committee provides leadership for the development of neuroblastoma clinical research within COG. Dr. Park’s primary research focus has been investigating novel therapies for the treatment of high-risk neuroblastoma, a rare but aggressive form of childhood cancer. She has conducted a multi-center clinical trial to determine the feasibility and toxicity of a novel induction chemotherapy regimen for high risk neuroblastoma and has collaborated with local and national investigators to optimize the use of radiation therapy as part of treatment for neuroblastoma. Dr. Park’s work has led to her development of the current national randomized phase III trial within COG for treatment of newly diagnosed high-risk neuroblastoma.. Dr. Park has ongoing collaborations with Dr. Michael Jensen and is currently the primary investigator on an early phase clinical trial that uses adoptive immunotherapy approaches to treat neuroblastoma. Dr. Park also leads the Advanced Therapeutics Program at Seattle Children’s Hospital and has steered Seattle Children’s into becoming a leading participant in the Phase I Consortium of COG and the New Approaches to Neuroblastoma Therapy Consortium. She has been actively involved in the development of novel chemotherapeutic agents that may block critical tumor cell pathways necessary for tumor cell growth and survival.

Professor Michel Zwaan

Professor Christian Michel Zwaan is Head of Paediatric Oncology/Haematology at Erasmus MC – Sophia Children’s Hospital in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and Senior Principal Investigator for Developmental Therapeutics and Head of the Data and Trial Center at the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology.

Professor Zwaan’s clinical research program comprises mainly developmental therapeutics. For this the DCOG Early Clinical Trial Consortium was set up to implement early phase clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy of novel drugs, and it actively contributes to the ITCC (Innovative Therapies for Children with Cancer) network to design, implement and perform early phase studies in Europe.

Professor Zwaan has vast teaching experience, and serves as an editor and reviewer for many renowned publications and journals. He also provides consultancy services for various pharmaceutical companies, mainly regarding the development of Pediatric Investigational Plans (PIP)/Advisory Board for specific products.

Professor Zwaan serves as a European expert for the Paediatric Committee (PDCO) of the European Medicines Agency (EMEA). He is represented on many paediatric oncology national and international committees including: the Supervisory Board of the Dutch Childhood Oncology Group, the Executive Board and Clinical Trial Committee of the ITCC consortium, and the SIOP-Europe Clinical Research Council steering committee.