We believe that finding a more effective, less toxic treatment is possible. That children diagnosed with LCH can live better lives…healthier, more ‘normal’ lives, with families that don’t live in fear of unknown futures. Your donation will go directly to help make this vision a reality.
How We Help
The Stella Hope Fund is focused on raising money to support a clinical trial of a promising new treatment, and ultimately to find a cure for LCH.
The Stella Hope Fund's mission is to raise $2 million - - enough money to conduct a clinical trial for a novel treatment developed by a group of leading LCH doctors, spearheaded by Drs. Barbara Degar and Barrett Rollins, at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI). Since 2019, the Stella Hope Fund has raised more than $500,000 to support this initiative - a major milestone! DFCI scientists are completing pre-clinical research and have begun constructing clinical protocols to fast-track a trial, with the goal of enrolling LCH patients who either didn’t respond to frontline treatment or whose disease reappeared after treatment.
Dr. Degar and Dr. Rollins are members of the Histiocyte Society and the North American Consortium for Histiocytosis (NACHO) - the first multi-institutional scientific network for the advancement of clinical, translational, and basic research in histiocytic diseases. NACHO scientists and clinicians are also committed to finding new and better treatments for LCH. In partnership with NACHO, the Stella Hope Fund will provide access to novel treatment for children throughout North America. This partnership with NACHO is critical; due to the rarity of the disease, NACHO will play an instrumental role in identifying LCH patients for the clinical trial.
We believe finding a new, more effective, and less toxic treatment for LCH is possible. Your donation can make this a reality.
"For patients and families affected by LCH, and for the clinicians and scientists that have worked to understand this rare and perplexing disease, the prospect of a less toxic, more specific, and (hopefully) curative treatment is extremely exciting. We could not begin to undertake this ambitious project without your support."
Dr. Degar, Senior Physician at DFCI
Be part of the solution: LCH “is a disease that is ripe for someone to apply what we’ve learned…to make sure that children with rare diseases are not left out of all the advances that are being made at Dana Farber.”
Barbara A. Degar, MD, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Medical Director, Inpatient Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Why We Believe We Can Make a Difference
The fundamental problem in LCH is the buildup of immature Langerhans cells, cells normally involved in fighting infections, in various locations within the body. A major breakthrough in understanding LCH came from the work of Dr. Barrett Rollins and the team at DFCI. Dr. Rollins’s group discovered that the abnormal cells in LCH carry altered or mutated genes identical to those that are responsible for many types of cancers. This discovery resolved a century of uncertainty about the fundamental nature of LCH. Moreover, it created an opening to develop rationally targeted treatments that cause Langerhans cells to die with fewer side effects than current treatments.
Barbara Degar, MD
Dr. Barbara Degar contributes extensive clinical expertise and experience to the collaboration. Dr. Degar is a Senior Physician at DFCI, Director of the Inpatient Oncology Service at Boston Children's Hospital (BCH) and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She specializes in Hematological Malignancies and is involved in the management of every child with LCH seen at Dana-Farber / Boston Children’s Cancer & Blood Disorders Center where she is actively engaged in many clinical trials in leukemia and histiocytic disorders. Her current clinical research projects include participation in the ongoing LCH IV clinical trial and lead investigator of the Phase II Study of Clofarabine in patients with recurrent or refractory LCH and LCH-related disorders.
Barrett Rollins, MD, PhD
Dr. Barrett Rollins has deep experience in laboratory-based investigation of the biology of white blood cells and cancer. Most recently, his research has focused on the molecular and genetic abnormalities that underlie LCH. Dr. Rollins has just completed 15 years as Dana-Farber’s first Chief Scientific Officer. He is the Linde Family Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and serves as Harvard’s Faculty Dean for Academic Programs at Dana-Farber. He is also Scientific Chair of the Steering Committee of the Nikolas Symposium, a yearly think tank devoted to finding treatments for the histiocytoses.
Mark Fleming, MD, DPhil
Dr. Mark Fleming has a long-standing interest in LCH and has made important discoveries in the disease. He is the Chief of Pathology at Boston Children’s Hospital and S. Burt Wolbach Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School.
Jonathan Paolino, MD
Dr. Jonathan Paolino is a Dana-Farber Cancer Institute oncology fellow with a focus in clinical and translational research in hematologic malignancies and histiocytosis.