Neuroblastoma is a form of cancer that starts in certain types of very primitive developing nerve cells found in an embryo or fetus. (The term neuro indicates “nerves,” while blastoma refers to a cancer that affects immature or developing cells). This type of cancer occurs in infants and young children. It is rarely found in children older than 10. Neuroblastomas are cancers that start in early nerve cells of the sympathetic nervous system, so they can be found anywhere along this system.
A little more than one out of three neuroblastomas start in the adrenal glands, and about one out of three begins in the sympathetic nerve ganglia of the abdomen. The rest start in sympathetic ganglia of the chest or neck or in the pelvis. In rare cases, a neuroblastoma may have spread so widely by the time it is found that doctors cannot tell exactly where it started.
Neuroblastomas can behave strangely. Sometimes the cells die without any cause and the tumor disappears. Tumor disappearance is much more common in very young infants than in older children. Another behavior that is unusual for childhood tumors is that the cells sometimes mature spontaneously into normal ganglion cells and stop dividing. This causes the tumor to become a ganglioneuroma.
Based on preclinical and early phase studies, CPP’s lead product, CPP-1X, holds promise to treat/prevent tumors associated with neuroblastoma. CPP is participating with expert investigators at the Neuroblastoma and Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium (NMTRC) and New Approaches to Neuroblastoma Therapy (NANT) to explore trials in children with neuroblastoma.