From the bench to the patients’ bedside, our staff conduct basic, translational, and clinical research to advance the field of pediatric oncology.
Pediatric Oncology Branch
Information for Patients
Learn more about our clinical trials and the highly specialized care teams who lead them.
The Pediatric Oncology Branch is dedicated to improving outcomes for children and young adults with cancer and genetic tumor predisposition syndromes. We conduct translational research that spans basic science to clinical trials. Our clinical studies are performed in an environment that supports our patient’s medical and emotional needs, alongside cutting edge scientific research.
Whether you are a referring physician, family member or patient with childhood cancer or neurofibromatosis, or are interested in training at the Pediatric Oncology Branch, we hope that this website will provide the information you need to access our programs.
Brigitte C. Widemann, M.D.
Chief, Pediatric Oncology Branch
|Position||Degree Required||Contact Name||Contact Email|
|Staff Scientist - Behavioral health, psychosocial research||Ph.D. or equivalent||Dr. Lori Wienerfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Post-doctoral Fellow - Cancer biology, epignetics||Ph.D. or equivalent||Carol Thiele, Ph.D.||email@example.com|
|Post-doctoral Fellow - Tumor microenvironment, immunology||Ph.D. or equivalent, M.D. or equivalent||Rosandra Kaplan, MDfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Staff Scientist - Clinical psychology, neuropsychology||Ph.D. or equivalent||Dr. Pam Woltersemail@example.com|
In Memoriam: Dr. Ian Magrath (1944-2023)
Dr. Ian Magrath, a pediatric oncologist, joined NCI’s Pediatric Branch as a senior investigator and head of the Lymphoma Biology Section in 1974, after completing his training in London, England. Dr. Magrath then spent 2 years in Uganda studying and implementing treatment studies for highly aggressive Burkitt lymphoma, which resulted in complete remissions and cures of many patients. As one of the pioneers of global medicine, he used lessons learned in Africa to develop and conduct translational research and highly innovative clinical trials targeting non-Hodgkin lymphoma and, in particular Burkitt lymphoma in the Pediatric Branch. His high-dose, dose-intensive, short course chemotherapy approach resulted in high cure rates of Burkitt lymphoma, in children and subsequently also adults. Dr. Magrath was also the first to identify the activity of ifosfamide for refractory lymphomas. While at the NCI for over 25 years, he authored over 100 publications and trained many clinical fellows in pediatric oncology. Dr. Magrath strove to share the advances discovered at the NCI Pediatric Branch globally, with the goal to provide access to care and achieve improvement of survival for patients in low-income countries. In 2000, he left the NCI and moved to Belgium with his wife, Melissa Adde, a clinical nurse specialist, who had jointly worked with him at the NCI contributing to the many discoveries and advances made in the treatment of lymphomas. He was the founder of the International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research (INCTR), a non-profit organization that supports cancer research in lower income countries. In his role at the INTCR, he and Melissa Adde established a global network for research, collaboration, and care in low-income nations, improving survival and quality of life of many patients. Those who were so fortunate to have worked with and learned from Dr. Magrath remember him as a true gentleman, kind and compassionate with his patients, who was uncompromising and rigorous in his scientific and clinical approach and pursuit to achieve the best outcomes for every child with cancer no matter where treatment is received. Very sadly, Melissa Adde passed away two days after Dr. Magrath.
Thoughts from Dr. Brigitte Widemann:
I (Brigitte Widemann) was a first-year fellow in the Pediatric Branch in 1992 at a time when Dr. Magrath conducted his groundbreaking clinical trials for newly diagnosed Burkitt Lymphoma. Ian was a gentle and compassionate master clinician. He and Melissa would round on our patients daily. The treatment we delivered was very intense and there was no break between cycles. As soon as blood counts recovered around days 19-21 the next cycle would follow. Luckily, there were only a total of four (if I remember correctly). I remember asking Ian if a patient could get a two-day break to go for a family event. He gently but firmly declined this request reminding me of the rapid doubling time of tumor cells and our ultimate goal to cure this patient. Ian would always take time to teach and discuss the rationale for his choices and treatment regimens. I am grateful for this first year as a clinical fellow and the many lessons learned from Ian and Melissa.
Thoughts from Dr. Carol Thiele:
I (Carol Thiele) remember Ian for being such a humble person, especially when I think back to one of his last seminars to the Pediatric Oncology Branch. He reviewed the life changing therapies he had developed for children with Burkitt’s lymphoma and then said it was not sufficient to stop there and shared with us his vision for bringing such therapies to under-resourced countries. I thought how proud I would have been to have made such an amazing contribution to the life of children with this disease. He was a generous scientific researcher and had developed a dynamic team of basic science researchers that also shared his vison to bring knowledge to other countries. His vison set the tone for many other pediatric cancer research facilities.
Thoughts from Dr. Lori Wiener:
I (Lori Wiener) was working as a social worker in the Pediatric Branch in 1986 and then as a behavioral scientist when Dr. Magrath began conducting his groundbreaking work for patients diagnosed with Burkitt Lymphoma. We spent time together talking to children and families, helping them understand the diagnosis, the intensive treatment that would follow, and what to expect physically and emotionally. Ian was soft spoken and kind, gentle and firm, and always compassionate. By his honest and direct approach, kindness, and availability, he made families feel safe, secure, and always well cared for. It was an honor and joy to work side-by-side.
POB Hike - March 2023
POB leadership bridging the past and the future generations of pediatric oncology researchers, making time outside the lab & clinic!
EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, Visits POB - Oct 12, 2022
POB's Research Roundup - May 12, 2022
We hosted our annual Research Roundup event for the first time in-person (with a virtual option) since 2019. Senior fellows gave talks, and trainees presented posters about their research on childhood cancers. POB also welcomed Dr. Douglas Hawkins, Chair of the Children’s Oncology Group, as the keynote speaker. Dr. Xiyuan Zhang, from Dr. Jack Shern’s lab, won the Crystal Mackall Excellence in Research Award for her talk, “Loss of PRC2 Enforces a Mesenchymal Neural Crest Stem Cell Phenotype in NF1-deficient Cancer Through Activation of Core Transcription Factors.”
POB Chief, Dr. Brigitte Widemann, named Special Advisor on Childhood Cancer
Dr. Widemann was named Special Advisor on Childhood Cancer to the NCI Director at the meeting of the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB) on February 10th, 2022. Watch this video to learn more about her perspectives on childhood cancer research. Learn more about Dr. Widemann and her research here.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
Selumetinib Approved by FDA to Treat Children with NF
In collaboration with other groups at NCI, we are engaged in special initiative programs aimed at advancing research and finding treatments for rare solid tumors and RASopathies.
POB is invested in training the next generation of scientists and offers training opportunities ranging from post-baccalaureate fellowships to post-doctoral fellowships, including a joint program in pediatric-hematology oncology with Johns Hopkins University.