Children's Hospital Colorado

Cancer Research

Dr. Jorge Di Paolo, wearing a blue sweater and glasses, marks a point on one of several papers stapled to a wall.
Research article

Dr. Di Paola researched what low platelets, acute lymphoblastic leukemia and a gene mutation have in common using DNA.

Clinical trial

Children’s Hospital Colorado physicians would like to learn more about medical marijuana in children with brain and spine tumors. Get information on volunteer requirements, compensation and how to participate.

Any brain or spinal tumor. Must NOT be using marijuana at time of enrollment
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A doctor does research in the lab wearing full protective gear.

State-of-the-art treatment for pediatric cancer typically includes enrollment in a clinical trial. In fact, research shows that children who participate in clinical trials have better survival rates than children who do not. That’s what makes the Research Department at the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders (CCBD) such an important part of the hospital.

Why choose Children’s Colorado for clinical trials?

Involvement in clinical trials (studies that determine if new drugs or treatments are safe and effective) is crucial to understanding diseases and finding ways to prevent or treat them. Discoveries from our laboratories on the Anschutz Medical Campus are changing the way care is delivered for pediatric hematology, oncology and bone marrow transplants.

Here’s what makes our scientific research and clinical trials program one of the nation’s most robust:

  • Children’s Hospital Colorado is a long-standing member of the Children’s Oncology Group, and many of our physicians play leadership roles in that organization.
  • Our physicians have discovered new genes important in cancer and are using this knowledge to develop new drugs and treatment protocols that more specifically and effectively kill cancer cells. New cancer targets have been identified in brain cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
  • State-of-the art genetic testing on cancer cells is being utilized to help tailor the most appropriate therapy for individual patients.
  • The leader of our Experimental Therapeutics Program also co-founded the Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Investigators Consortium (POETIC), which often expands local clinical trials to children and adolescents across the country.
  • Orthopedic oncologists use 3D motion-capture technology from the Center for Gait and Movement Analysis to better understand functional quality of life for orthopedic oncology patients after surgery. Their findings will improve understanding of the long-term differences between surgical approaches for bone cancer.
  • Our survivorship experts lead national studies on late-effects and outcomes to improve care for future patients.
  • Clinical research led by the Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center revolutionized the care of children with hemophilia, transitioning the focus from treatment of life-threatening and debilitating bleeding episodes to prevention of bleeding through regular home administration of clotting factors.
  • Hematology researchers identified the gene that causes grey platelet syndrome, a discovery that will now be used to set the foundation of care for newly diagnosed patients.

Changing cancer treatment through research

All of our doctors also collaborate with laboratory researchers to find new cures and better cancer treatment. In 2011-12, our team secured more than $4 million per year in external research grant funding to fund new and ongoing studies.

Benefits of our location on the Anschutz Medical Campus

  • New laboratory space on the Anschutz Medical Campus facilitates communication and ideas between researchers and clinicians.
  • Being co-located on the Anschutz Medical Campus with University of Colorado Hospital, our researchers easily collaborate with adult providers and researchers, and are well-positioned to develop new adolescent and young adult approaches.
  • As the pediatric affiliate of the University of Colorado Cancer Center, our researchers gain access to the Cancer Center’s core research facilities such as tissue banking.
  • The physician-scientists at the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders are recognized as national leaders in basic science and clinical science research and have funding to support their research from numerous national hematology and oncology research foundations.

More information about our cancer research

Close-up of Papi wearing a yellow shirt

How our neuro-oncology team stays a step ahead of cancer

Getting diagnosed with a rare brain tumor wasn't easy for 18-month-old Papi Martinez and his family. But his care team is better equipped than ever to treat him.

(From left) Pediatric gastroenterologist Edward Hoffenberg, MD; genetic counselor Alexandra Suttman, MS, CGC; and pediatric oncologist Lindsey Hoffman, DO, talk genetics with a patient and her mom.

Prevention in the uncharted world of childhood polyposis

Intestinal polyps form during childhood for a variety of reasons, many of them not well understood. Our team is collaborating to find the answers.

Learn about our research

Children's Colorado in the news


Local Childhood Cancer Survivor Raises Money to Help Others

When Carter was 7 years old, he was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. At age 9, he began a craft sale called "Crafts for Cancer" to help raise awareness for childhood cancer. Now 11, Carter has raised more than $5,200.


Scientists and Students Look For Cure For Last Incurable Pediatric Cancer

Researchers have found a cure for nearly every childhood cancer. In Colorado, students are joining scientists to tackle that rare cancer; an aggressive tumor of the brain stem called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG).


Childhood Cancer Survivor Becomes Father 20 Years Later

Jason Kotas, shared his journey through childhood cancer and how, with the right planning, he and wife, Emily, were able to welcome their first child.


Hope Soars as Pediatric Cancer Survivors Celebrate Life

The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders (CCBD) hosted the 7th Annual Celebration of Life event and honored pediatric cancer survivors and family members living with and beyond cancer. The event was held at Wings Over the Rockies museum and hundreds of past and current patients of the H.O.P.E. (Helping Oncology Patients Excel) Survivorship Program attended.