Sunday, November 28, 2010

Division of Oncology

Carolyn A. Felix, M.D.
Colket Translational Research Building
3501 Civic Center Boulevard
Room 4006
Philadelphia, PA 19104 - 4318
Phone: 215.590.2831

November 17. 2010

Mr. Edward Lopata
P.O. Box 353
Marlboro, VT 05344-0353

Dear Ed,

Thank you for your recent email. I hope that you are well. Each time I hear from you I feel a tremendous sense of zeal for the privilege of being the clinician scientist you selected to travel through this chapter of life's journey with you by endeavoring to translate Jesse's college tuition into a cure for the very disease to which he succumbed. As always it is nice to be able to update you on the progress we arc making towards conquering MLL leukemia. You are making a tremendous difference with your support for this work. No words could adequately thank you for what you have done.

Last year, the Children's Oncology Group was just launching a clinical trial based on discoveries by my lab at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. We had found that MLL leukemia is sensitive to a drug that we have been testing to restore the pathways to leukemia cell death. The COG clinical trial is a Phase I trial to find the appropriate doses of the drug
in children, and it is ongoing.

Since that time we also have continued to learn much, much more about how this drug is working, including being able to identify, based on fundamental characteristics of the leukemia cells at baseline, which cases are likely to be most sensitive. And, even more importantly, the rigorous and deep characterization of the cells at baseline has allowed us to identify
different drugs to test in combination with the drug in the Phase I trial. As we now embark on these next studies, we are very optimistic that these combinations will make what looks like a very promising drug from our detailed studies in the laboratory even better and that we will be able to translate these discoveries into cures.

Beyond the progress we are making in the laboratory, there also have been many very exciting changes and additions to the already outstanding resources at CHOP that will be able to be leveraged to realize this vision. My laboratory relocated to CHOP's brand new Colket Translational Research Building (CTRB), which was dedicated in June 2010. The CTRB is
home to the Center for Childhood Cancer Research, Leukemia / Lymphoma Section and Developmental Therapeutics Program with a consolidated infrastructure to achieve a translational research mission. This consolidated approach has been
very helpful to my mission to conquer MLL disease.

I look forward to providing you with more good news on the progress we are making. As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I will be thinking of you, your family and your dear son Jesse and the major inspiration that you all continually provide me towards making this all happen as a tribute to him.

As this holiday approaches I am also wondering if you might post this update on Jesse's website so that all will know how Jesse is continuing to battle this disease, but only now from above!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and please know just what you have done!

Sincerely yours,

Carolyn A. Felix, MD
Professor of Pediatrics

c.c. John M. Maris, MD

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