Penn State Health Children’s Hospital

500 University Drive, PO Box 850
Hershey, PA  17033
+1 717-531-6012

The mission of our Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Program, which are supported by Four Diamonds, THON and Mini-THON, is to develop and provide access to novel experimental treatments that incorporate cutting-edge science to children and adolescents with all types of cancer using a multidisciplinary team approach with patients and their families being at the center of their healthcare team. At the heart of this program is Experimental Therapeutics Research and Clinical Team (ExTRaCT) which is composed of six physicians with diverse areas of expertise, one nurse practitioner, one pediatric oncology pharmacy specialist, one clinical research nurse, one compliance/regulatory specialist and two database managers. This dedicated team provides access to early phase clinical trials including those sponsored by consortia such as POETIC. In addition to our outstanding clinical care enterprise, our basic science and translational laboratory research endeavors are thriving within our division as well as in the Penn State Cancer Institute here on the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center campus. All of these resources and efforts together create an outstanding environment in which innovative therapies can be translated directly to the patient’s bedside. All of our patients directly benefit from this cohesive network of researchers and healthcare providers.

Research Team

Principal Investigator

Valerie I. Brown, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Director, Physician Scientist Training Program

Associate Chief of Programmatic and Faculty Development of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/Stem Cell Transplantation

Director, Experimental Therapeutics, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Leader of the Experimental Therapeutics Research and Clinical Team (ExTRaCT) Director, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program

Dr. Brown is a Pediatric Oncologist and Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) Specialist at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital located in Hershey, PA, with over 15 years of experience. She earned her MD and PhD at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and did her pediatrics residency and pediatrics hematology/oncology fellowship at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where she remained for almost 10 years as an attending/faculty. Dr. Brown has had a long-standing interest in discovering new strategies to treat childhood cancer that include biologically-relevant approaches with the goal of maximizing cure rates while minimizing short- and long-term toxicities. Early on, she developed an expertise in understanding the “deranged network wiring” within a leukemia cell that sustains its growth and survival and then how best to “short circuit” this wiring such that it is no longer viable. This early work contributed to the development of novel, biologically- targeted treatment strategies for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Since then, Dr. Brown’s scientific interests have transitioned more towards the design and testing of innovative approaches that incorporate molecularly targeted agents either to the tumor itself or its microenvironment for the treatment of pediatric cancers. Because of her extensive experience in translating pre-clinical, scientific observations into feasible regimens, Dr. Brown is currently the Director of Experimental Therapeutics and Leader of the Experimental Therapeutics Research and Clinical Team (ExTRaCT) in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. In addition, she is the Associate Chief of Programmatic and Faculty Development of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Director of the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program, and Director of the Institutional-wide Physician-Scientist Training Program.

"Our goal is to give hope to the hopeless, and the most successful way of doing this by offering our patients innovative approaches to treatment in which conventional methods have failed."

-Dr. Valerie Brown

Co-Principal Investigator

Lisa M. McGregor, MD, PhD


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