What We Treat

Our goal is to provide every opportunity for a child to be cured of his disease. For many children with cancer and blood disorders, developmental therapeutics represents hope. Many drugs identified as beneficial in developmental therapeutics have been moved into front-line treatments.

What is developmental therapeutics?

Developmental therapeutics focuses on the creation of new treatments for patients with cancer or blood disorders. Most commonly, developmental therapeutics focuses on new drugs for:

  • Tumors that have failed to respond to standard treatment
  • Tumors that have returned

Developmental therapeutic trials also attempt to identify drugs that are:

  • Safer to administer
  • Less toxic to patients and cause fewer short- and long-term side effects
  • Easier to give to patients (for instance, replacing an I.V. drug with the same drug that can be given by mouth)
  • More effective when given in combination compared to when given as a single drug

At the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, our hope is that new combinations or new ways of administering the medicine will lead to a better outcome in treating the disease—and a better life for the child.

Why is it important?

Phase I trials represent the most innovative treatments available. These trials provide additional treatment options for children, who in the past had no other options besides the standard protocol.

Our Unique Approach

At the Aflac Cancer Center, our goal is to move ideas from the lab to patients at the bedside when those ideas are suitable for clinical trials.

Our Development Therapeutics Program focuses on the creation of new treatments for children with cancer and blood disorders. Our hope is that new drugs, new combinations of drugs or new ways of administering drugs will lead to better outcomes for our young patients.

Program highlights

  • We are a member of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) Phase I Consortium—one of only 21 centers in the country and one of three in the Southeast. This prestigious designation provides us access to the most promising medicines.
  • We ranked in the top two percent in COG for therapeutic clinical trial enrollment in 2017.
  • We have enrolled 50 patients in developmental therapeutics trials. Nine of our 50 patients were also in COG Phase 1 trials. 23 of our 50 patients were in Aflac Cancer Center-initiated clinical trials.
  • We are one of 11 collaborative institutions in the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium (PBTC), a highly selective National Cancer Institute cooperative group specializing in improving the treatment of brain tumors through novel trials for children with brain cancer.
  • We are an active member of New Approaches in Neuroblastoma Therapy (NANT) and Therapeutic Advances in Childhood Leukemia & Lymphoma (TACL) consortia, which allows our patients access to a wide range of novel agents.
  • We serve as a referral center for patients from across the state of Georgia and the U.S. who might not otherwise have access to Phase I and Phase II trials.
  • We have several novel investigator-initiated studies that were developed by our physicians, including the repurposing of statins for treatment of cancer and new combinations of targeted agents on a backbone of more traditional chemotherapy.
  • We are leading first-in pediatrics studies to bring new molecularly targeted agents to our pediatric patients. 
  • We provide innovative treatment of recurrent neuroblastoma through our MIBG therapy program. 
  • We provide novel chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy to children with relapsed B-cell leukemia.
  • We aim to provide an open trial for every patient so he can be treated close to home, school, friends and family.

Learn more about research at the Aflac Cancer Center

Find a clinical trial

Helpful Resources

New patient forms

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Before your visit

Learn how to prepare for your visit to the Aflac Cancer Center, including information about our transitional housing options for families traveling from outside of Atlanta.

Get information and tips

Camps, events and support groups

Camps, retreats and other events offer many therapeutic benefits for children and families who are dealing with serious illness.

Camps, events and support groups

Second opinions and international services

We understand you want to be certain your child is receiving the best possible treatment available anywhere in the world. Second opinions can help provide the information you need to make an informed decision about the treatment for your child. For families traveling outside the U.S., we are here to help meet your unique needs and challenges.

Learn more about our second opinion services

Learn more about our international services


Learn how you can help make a difference in the life of a child battling cancer or a blood disorder.

Join the fight against childhood cancer and blood disorders

Learn more about how Aflac supports us

Meet the Team

Meet our developmental therapeutics team

Led by Melinda Pauly, MD, Clinical Director of Developmental Therapeutics, our team of providers includes: