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What About Kids Symposium

ACCO’s History of Advocacy

In 2018, the American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO) identified something troubling: Despite cancer being the leading cause of death by disease in America’s children, only two states in the country were funding childhood cancer research. That same year, thanks to ACCO’s advocacy, Kentucky signed childhood cancer legislation into law, committing a substantial $5 million towards this cause. Ever since, ACCO has been asking one question across the nation: what about kids?

To date, seven states have answered. With legislation passed in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Nebraska, Virginia, and New York, ACCO has secured an astounding $98.8 million for childhood cancer research. There is a crushing disparity in research and treatment innovation between adult cancers and childhood cancers, but state-level legislation can close this gap.

Presently, ACCO is engaged in five more states, working to codify state-based appropriations for childhood cancer research. This work includes the establishment of Pediatric Cancer Research Trust Funds, ensuring a competitive grant process for the distribution of funds.


About the Symposium

Healthcare professionals, legislators, and people who were personally touched by childhood cancer will all be under one roof at the What About Kids Research & Advocacy Symposium. The goal of the symposium is to present and share the latest research findings, identify new legislative opportunities to expand research funding, and facilitate communication and connection. This ambitious step towards healthcare equity for America’s children is possible thanks to the generous support of the Kentucky Pediatric Cancer Research Trust Fund. ACCO is deeply grateful.

This activity will provide AMA PRA Category 1 credits™; and continuing education through Norton Healthcare. Norton Healthcare adheres to the Kentucky Medical Association accreditation requirements, as well as the Standards for Integrity and Independence in accredited continuing education.

We believe in equal access to information. Registration is free.
Thanks to the generosity of the KY Pediatric Cancer Research Trust Fund (KPCRTF), the $400 registration fee is waived for all participants.

October 10-12, 2024 | The Brown Hotel

335 W Broadway, Louisville, KY 40202

October 10: Arrival and check-in.
October 11: Full day conference, Networking Event in the evening.
October 12: Half day conference.

Guests will stay at the Brown Hotel. This is also where all symposium events will be held, with the exception of the Networking Event.

ACCO has reserved a room block at a discounted rate of $189 per night. Complimentary airport shuttle is offered by our hotel between the hours of 6:00 am – 11:00 pm. ($40 round trip savings)


NOTICE: Reserving your room at the Brown Hotel does NOT register you for the symposium. You MUST fill out the registration form before the deadline if you plan to attend.

Symposium Agenda

Speaker Feature:

ACCO is thrilled to announce several top researchers have confirmed as invited guest speakers at our What About Kids Advocacy and Research Symposium. We encourage families, clinicians, and researchers with an interest in neuroblastoma to register to attend.

Neuroblastoma is the most common extracranial malignant tumor of childhood, accounting for 15% of childhood cancer deaths. Despite advances in the treatment of low-risk neuroblastoma with a cure rate of approximately 90%, the five-year survival rate for high-risk neuroblastoma remains less than 50%.

One of our confirmed neuroblastoma research speakers is Dr. Julie Saba. In a recent publication

of Oncogene (Feb. 27, 2024), Dr. Julie Saba’s team found AF1q, an oncoprotein with established roles in leukemia and some solid tumor progression to also be a universal marker of neuroblastoma tumors. Her lab showed that by silencing AF1q in neuroblastoma cells, they were able to block cancer cell cycle progression, resulting in tumor cell death. Dr. Saba will be sharing her lab’s novel research that provides a potential therapeutic target to better treat and cure high-risk neuroblastoma. 

Dr. Julie Saba is a pediatric oncologist at the University of California, San Francisco, where she is a professor of pediatrics and holds the John and Edna Beck Chair of Cancer Research. Dr. Saba attended Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and completed her pediatrics residency, hematology/oncology fellowship, and Ph.D. in cell biology at Duke Medical Center. Her research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, UCSF’s Catalyst and REAC Programs, and the Swim Across America foundation for cancer research. She is the recipient of the first Eli Lilly and Company Genetic Medicine Grand Challenge.

Dr. Giselle Sholler is a board-certified pediatric hematologist/oncologist who serves as chief of Penn State Health Children’s Hospital’s Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. In addition, she is the director of pediatric oncology research and a professor of pediatrics and pharmacology at Penn State College of Medicine.

Research conducted within r her laboratory that has led to the opening of >20 clinical trials with a focus on targeted agents and precision medicine for children with cancer The Beat Childhood Cancer consortium is a collaborative team of over 50 universities, research centers and children’s hospitals that have come together to bring new therapies to children in need across the US and Canada.

They have led the research studying both Precision Medicine approaches to cancer and studying DFMO for children with neuroblastoma to keep children in remission. With the support of the Beat Childhood Cancer Foundation, and together with the FDA, her research has led to FDA approval of DFMO for high risk neuroblastoma.

Senator Max Wise has been ACCO’s legislative champion supporting KY state appropriations for childhood cancer research since 2018.

In addition to serving as a member of 2022-2024 Budget Preparation and Submission Subcommittee and the Legislative Oversight and Investigations Committee, Senator Wise is also the Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Economic Development, Tourism, and Labor and Co-chair of the Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee. Senator Wise is also a member of the Senate Standing Committees on Agriculture; Education; Families and Children; and Health Services and is a liaison member of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Education.

Senator Wise teaches graduate-level courses in terrorism studies, intelligence, and intelligence analysis at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and history from Campbellsville University. He earned his Master of Arts in international politics and national security at the University of Kentucky Patterson School. He also holds an advanced certificate in homeland security from the Bush School of Government at Texas A&M University.

Senator Wise lives in Campbellsville with his wife, Dr. Heather Wise, a pediatric dentist, and their four children including Carter, a long-term survivor of stage IV neuroblastoma, diagnosed in 2007, at 6 months of age.

A special thank you to our Symposium sponsors!