• Mayo Clinic patient, physician highlighted by Conquer Cancer Foundation

cancer patient Kenedi in hospital bed with stuffed animals

Dr. Wendy Allen-Rhoades is an oncologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, with expertise in a variety of pediatric and adolescent cancers. Her experience and research background helped her develop a promising treatment plan for Kenedi, a young patient from Wisconsin. Kenedi had a rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare type of cancer that can occur at any age, but most often affects children.

Using support from a 2013 Conquer Cancer Young Investigator Award, Dr. Allen-Rhoades has been researching signals in the body that indicate the presence of sarcomas. This work led to her current phase 3 trial to determine whether intensifying a specific treatment can improve survival in young patients with Wilms' tumor.

"Decades ago, survival rates for children diagnosed with Wilms' tumors were low, but research for various cancer types has improved outcomes for these patients," says Dr. Allen-Rhoades.

Dr. Allen-Rhoades says that in the late 1960s, the survival rate for children diagnosed with Wilms' tumor was approximately 20%. Thanks to the work of a research consortium first formed in 1969 to study Wilms' tumor and conduct clinical trials, the survival rate for children diagnosed with this type of cancer today is 90%."

"Physicians now routinely use molecular biomarkers to identify and assess the risk of patients diagnosed with Wilms' tumor, which allows them to better tailor therapy for each patient, provide a more accurate prognosis and ultimately improve patient outcomes," says Dr. Allen-Rhoades. She says that without the dedicated childhood cancer research that preceded Kenedi's diagnosis, it is possible she would not have had the successful outcome she has today.

Media contact: 
Joe Dangor, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, newsbureau@mayo.edu

Watch: Kenedi's story courtesy of Conquer Cancer with the ASCO Foundation.

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