Cris Collingwood//August 2, 2023

An internationally known physician-scientist and her research consortium have joined Penn State Health to continue efforts to eradicate pediatric cancer. 

Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine said Dr. Giselle Saulnier Sholler and her research team will be on board Sept. 1 to provide greater access to pediatric care and research, including clinical trials, for Penn State Health patients. 

Sholler, a pediatric hematology-oncology clinician and researcher, will serve as the division chief of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital and will be the director of pediatric oncology research at Penn State College of Medicine. 

Sholler’s consortium, Beat Childhood Cancer Research Consortium, is a worldwide network of more than 55 universities and children’s hospitals dedicated to discovering new therapies and cures for children with cancer. It has enrolled more than 1,800 pediatric cancer patients in more than 23 trials to date. 

“This is an important and exciting advance toward our vision to be a leader in the fight against childhood cancer, building on strong existing expertise in pediatric cancer care and research,” said Dr. Yatin M. Vyas, vice president and physician leader for Penn State Health Children’s Hospital.  

“The research consortium’s vital research and patient trials under Dr. Sholler’s leadership and coordinated by the College of Medicine will save lives and help our Children’s Hospital make enduring impacts across the globe,” Vyas said. 

“There is significant value in housing the consortium within an academic medical center, where we can combine the pillars of research and care to advance knowledge, drive medical discoveries and change lives,” said Sholler. “The consortium team and its international infrastructure will ensure that these children have access to a full range of medical services, including more targeted therapies such as precision immunotherapy to fight neuroblastoma, brain tumors, sarcomas and rare cancers in a more directed way.” 

Four Diamonds, a leader in childhood cancer care, treatment and innovative research, provided support to bring Sholler and the research consortium to Children’s Hospital and the College of Medicine.  

The recruitment follows the creation one year ago of the Four Diamonds Initiative for Childhood Cancer Innovation, a collaboration between Four Diamonds and Penn State Health Children’s Hospital to expand Four Diamonds’ ongoing work to find a cure for all pediatric cancers. That initiative is focused on enabling philanthropic support to help accelerate the timeline for clinical research.  

“Bringing Dr. Sholler and the research consortium here to our campus allows us to make significant steps forward in our quest to conquer childhood cancer,” said Suzanne Graney, Four Diamonds executive director. “Together, our organizations and experts in pediatric cancer will continue to provide every Four Diamonds child hope through superior care, comprehensive support and an unwavering commitment to innovative research.” 

The College of Medicine will serve as the home of the consortium by providing oncology team members with dedicated research space and opportunities to explore and identify treatments in the field of pediatric oncology.  

Penn State Health said their work will then be shared with consortium members across the globe, including the Children’s Hospital, for patient trials. 

“The College of Medicine is thrilled to add Dr. Sholler and the Beat Childhood Cancer Research Consortium to our team of nationally recognized scientists in Hershey,” said Dr. Kevin Black, the College of Medicine interim dean. “She and her team are conducting leading-edge research and pioneering treatments and cures in pediatric cancer, giving families hope and supporting our vision to be a world leader in the transformation of health care and in the enhancement of health for people everywhere.” 

Sholler joins Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine from Atrium Health Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, N.C., where she is a pediatric hematology and oncology physician.