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Hospital begins experimental cancer treatments for young patients

Levine's Children's Hospital in Charlotte has received nearly $6 million to begin offering clinical drug trials to children coping with cancer. The clinical trials are aimed at children dealing with cancers that include leukemia, lymphoma, brain, bone and soft tissue tumors. Up until just a few months ago families who wanted their children enrolled in these experimental treatments had to travel several hours outside of Charlotte Dr. Javier Oesterheld will oversee the trials. "I can't put enough importance on the fact that when a child relapses or if a child has a tumor that hasn't responded to standard chemotherapy that the ability to offer it in their hometown or close by is of paramount importance to their family," says Oesterheld. Oesterheld says he hopes to enroll 10 to 15 children in the chemotherapy-related trials this year. He says several of these treatments are quite expensive because insurance won't cover them. The grant will allow the hospital to buy needed equipment and hire four staff members to assist children throughout the process. Eight groups contributed to the grant including The Leon Levine Foundation, The Alex Hemby Foundation and Drumstrong.