Office of Student Life

On the Hospital

Areas of Impact:

Psychosocial Programming:

  • When your child is sick, it can be hard to understand what is happening, to make decisions and to juggle family responsibilities. At Nationwide Children’s, our Psychosocial Services Team will help your child understand what they are going through, assist them in coping with their new diagnosis, minimize stress and fears about medical procedures and treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation or surgery, and help siblings understand what is happening to their brother or sister. We also work closely with your child's school to ensure they stay on track and assist their peers in better understanding why they are not in school. We know one family member’s illness impacts everyone else, so we create an environment where your child can achieve their best health and your family can receive the support to positively cope with your child’s treatment and care.

Dr. Cynthia Gerhardt & Dr. Tammi Young-Saleme: Mental Health & Cancer Patients:

  • Expanding upon the strong foundation of psycho-oncology research in the Center for Biobehavioral Health, in partnership with our Psychosocial Oncology Clinical Program and Training. The focus would be to develop and test innovative, evidence-based interventions to solve our most challenging psychosocial issues: 
    • Programmatic research with young survivors (diagnosed before age 7) due to their greater vulnerability to neurocognitive and psychosocial deficits, particularly during the transition to elementary school.
    • Intervention research to better support advanced cancer patients at the end of life, including bereaved parents and siblings.


Dr. Dean Lee: Universal-Donor TGFβ-resistant NK cell therapy for relapsed neuroblastoma:

  • Natural killer cells (NK cells) are naturally-occurring white blood cells that fight cancer, and NK cells play a very important role in cancer treatment by working together with anticancer antibodies. Children with neuroblastoma have low numbers and function of NK cells, and the neuroblastoma cancer itself makes a potent protein called TGFβ that stops NK cells from working.


Dr. Dean Lee: Proof-of-concept study of Universal-Donor TGFβ-resistant NK cell to prevent osteosarcoma metastasis:

  • Natural killer cells (NK cells) are naturally-occurring white blood cells that fight cancer, but NK cells are very sensitive to chemotherapy and are wiped out with every cycle of treatment. In particular, NK cells seem to play an important role in preventing metastasis of sarcomas. In teenagers and young adults with osteosarcoma, metastasis to the lungs are very hard to treat and the most common cause of treatment failure. Thus, restoring NK cell function early, before metastases develop, could help improve survival by preventing the formation of metastases.


Harnessing the Power of Genomics:

  • It would be ideal and is out goal to offer sequencing to all patients.  It advances our understanding of pediatric cancers on an individual and broader population level, and we don’t have other methods of reliably identifying which patients truly will benefit from this genomic information (in terms of immediate treatment changes) and which ones will not. If we can offer sequencing as standard of care for all patients, we would have baseline information at initial diagnosis and could reassess the data for genomic changes at relapse/recurrence.


Supporting Sickle Cell Initiates through Dr. Amy Dunn, Dr. Tony Villella & Dr. Susan Creary’s Respected Teams:

  • It would be ideal to offer sequencing to all patients.  It advances our understanding of pediatric cancers on an individual and BuckeyeThon desires to more accurately represent all patient populations within the 12th floor at Nationwide Children's Hospital to account for a diversity of diagnoses and support Black children’s health. BuckeyeThon’s desire to expand their support across the entire service line with the addition of supporting Sickle Cell research as they are aware this disease disproportionately affects Black children. The support is welcomed and needed according to Dr. Amy Dunn, Dr. Tony Villella & Dr. Susan Creary as well as a few other members of their team.


Clinical Trial Information for BuckeyeThon

Currently, Nationwide Children’s Hospital is actively involved in more than 1,000 clinical research projects across all specialty areas. These projects range from small studies that are designed to simply collect information about a disease, to those that investigate the potential new treatments or procedures that are at the forefront of clinical innovation and discovery.

Dr. Cripe Involvement in Clinical Trials

Timothy P. Cripe, MD, PhD, FAAP, is chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. In his administrative capacity, Dr. Cripe is responsible for all 110 clinical trials currently open. Approximately 74% of eligible oncology patients are enrolled in clinical trials at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, making us one of the leading cancer centers for clinical trial enrollment by the Children’s Oncology Group, the world’s largest organization devoted exclusively to childhood and adolescent cancer research.

These trials include everything from a Phase 2 examination of treatments for newly diagnosed patients with Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma to a trial for ovarian tissue freezing for fertility preservation in girls facing a fertility-threatening medical diagnosis or treatment regimen.

Dr. Lee Involvement in Clinical Trials

Dean A. Lee, MD, PhD, is director of the Cellular Therapy and Cancer Immunology Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. As a “bench” scientist, Dr. Lee does not serve as the lead researcher on clinical trials. However, he provides the scientific impetus for many clinical trials currently open at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

For example, these clinical trials can range from a Phase 2 study of chemotherapy combinations for treatment in recurrent/refractory sarcoma in teenagers and young adults to a protocol examining personalized medicine tactics for people under 18-years-of-age at time of diagnosis.