Founded at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania

PC3I Faculty Awarded Grant to Incorporate PROs with Predictive Analytics in Pediatric CAR T Cell Therapy

An American Cancer Society Clinician Scientist Development Grant (CSDG) has been awarded to PC3I Faculty Allison Barz Leahy, MD, MSCE. The CSDG provides five years of funding support to junior faculty trained primarily as clinicians who want to maintain clinical practice and conduct cancer research.  

Allison Barz Leahy

Dr. Barz Leahy’s work centers on the use of patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures for symptom monitoring in pediatric cancer patients, with a focus in chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy, a type of treatment in which a patient’s own T cells are altered to attack cancer cells. Through this funding, she will develop novel early warning systems that leverage PROs to inform meaningful and actionable clinical outcomes in pediatric CAR T cell therapy.  

In other populations, PROs have been used for toxicity monitoring and have done so more effectively than traditional laboratory measures, but haven’t been assessed to the same extent in pediatric oncology populations. In this pioneering study, PROs collected from pediatric oncology patients and their caregivers will be combined with traditional clinical data to develop advanced predictive models to identify patients most at risk for bad outcomes, such as life-threatening side effects, the premature loss of CAR T cells, or relapse following treatment. These models will allow clinicians to anticipate and mitigate catastrophic events in a particularly high-risk population and improve outcomes overall for children with cancer. 

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