Among children who have cancer, only about seven percent have neuroblastoma. This cancer develops from the young cells that normally become nerves called neuroblasts. These immature nerve cells are found in unborn babies and normal neuroblasts become nerve cells or adrenal medulla cells (cells found in the center of the adrenal gland). When they don't mature properly the cells can become cancerous.
Because neuroblastoma is not very common, community doctors have limited knowledge of the disease. This is why almost all children with neuroblastoma in the United States receive treatment at one of the children’s cancer centers that make up the Children’s Oncology Group(COG). Children diagnosed with neuroblastoma are treated at SCCA's parent organization, Seattle Children's, a member of COG and New Approaches to Neuroblastoma Therapy (NANT).
Standard therapy for neuroblastoma is provided at Seattle Children's. If your child or teen needs a bone marrow transplant, you should know that the Fred Hutchinson Transplant program at SCCA was ranked first in outcomes in a four-year study by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) that measured one-year survival rates of patients among 122 transplant centers in the United States. The Hutchinson Center pioneered the use of bone marrow transplants as a treatment for blood diseases over 40 years ago. Since then thousands of patients with leukemia have come from around the world to receive bone marrow transplants at SCCA. Bone marrow transplants have transformed leukemia and related cancers, once thought incurable, into highly treatable diseases with survival rates as high as 80 percent.