Most children and adolescents with Hodgkin lymphoma can be cured, but the cure often comes with a price: a higher risk of developing long-term complications related to chemotherapy, such as second cancers and cardiovascular disease.

The development of effective, less toxic therapies therefore remains a significant priority. Kara Kelly, MD, chairs the COG Hodgkin Lymphoma Committee — one of only ten disease committees within the group — and also leads large COG-sponsored national clinical trials to improve the care of patients with high-risk Hodgkin lymphoma. Because of this expertise, NYP/Morgan Stanley Children’s has become known as a major referral center for pediatric Hodgkin lymphoma.

Because cancers are rare in children and adolescents, national clinical trials are necessary to learn how changes in treatment affect outcome. While some modifications are aimed at increasing the efficacy of therapy, others seek to decrease the toxicities of treatment while preserving the overall survival rate. In Hodgkin lymphoma, for example, there are clinical trials aimed at adding new targeted therapies for patients with poor prognosis disease, as well as protocols focused on decreasing the intensity of therapy for certain subgroups of patients who have achieved excellent outcomes.

“While we’ve made tremendous progress in the understanding and treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma, many questions remain unanswered,” Dr. Kelly notes. “I am honored to be part of the effort to answer these questions and develop more effective, less toxic treatments for our patients today and those in the future.”