Medical Advisors

Dr. Robert Seeger

Robert Seeger, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine, Director of Cancer Research Program of the Saban Research Institute, and Division Head for Basic and Translational Research of the Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Dr. Seeger is considered one of the leaders in the fight against neuroblastoma. He has been involved in every major advancement in treating neuroblastoma. Dr. Seeger’s current therapeutic research deals with immunotherapy strategies that seek to maximize natural killer (NK) cell activity with tumor cell targeting antibodies and with agents that modify the tumor microenvironment milieu to minimize NK suppressive effects of monocytes/macrophages producing IL-6 and TGFβ1. 


Dr. Malcolm K. Brenner

Malcolm K. Brenner, M.D., Ph.D., is the director of the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital and The Methodist Hospital. He is also director of the Shell Center for Gene Therapy at BCM and a professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Medicine, Section of Hematology-Oncology.

Before coming to Baylor, he was one of the pioneers in the field of gene therapy at St. Jude Children’s Cancer Research Center in Memphis. Dr. Brenner is a co-editor of the journal Molecular Therapy, a member of the American Society of Gene Therapy and a principal investigator or co-investigator on five NIH grants. He is the author or co-author of more than 200 professional articles in his field. He was the first to cure a child with
neuroblastoma using T cells.


Dr. Paul Sondel

Paul Sondel, M.D., Ph.D., is the Reed and Carolee Walker Professor in Pediatric Oncology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Dr. Sondel has been a leader in scientific policy through multiple national committee roles, including the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), and the National Cancer Institute, where he was a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors, and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, where he was the Chair of their Scientific Advisory Committee and is now chair of their cancer center’s external advisory board. Due to his extensive background in genetics and tumor immunology, Dr. Sondel led his team to dramatically change the treatment for neuroblastoma, and, in turn, the survival rate for children with this high-risk disease.

Dr. Andras Heczey

Andras Heczey, M.D., is a physician-scientist and full-time faculty member in the Department of Pediatrics of Baylor College of Medicine, Section of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. He is a member of the multidisciplinary solid tumor team and the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy (CAGT). His research focuses on developing novel treatments for children with solid tumors by redirecting the immune system to attack cancer cells. Dr. Heczey has studied and published the first adoptive immunotherapy approach utilizing Natural Killer T cells genetically modified to attack neuroblastoma. He is working on moving this approach from bench to bedside in the form of a Phase 1/2a clinical trial.

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Dr. Shakeel Modak

Dr. Shakeel Modak, M.D., Ph.D., joins us from the Department of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, Immunotherapy, Neuroblastoma at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York. Dr. Modak is a pediatric oncologist who specializes in the treatment of children and young adults with neuroblastoma.

Dr. Modak along with his colleague Dr. Brian Kushner just recently reported the results of their groundbreaking clinical trial in which a vaccine was utilized. They reported an 80% reduction in relapse rates (or increased survival from a 30% survival rate to a 54% survival rate) for children fighting neuroblastoma. This number has been holding - six years out. Not only was the increased efficacy huge, but just as important, they used a vaccine a non-invasive, non-toxic treatments with no short term and long term life-threatening side effects. 



Dr. Stein, is the former President of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He is a founding member of the Section of Critical Care, the Council of Sections Management Committee and the Committee on Membership of the AAP. As a member of the technical advisors of the Pan American Health Organization for the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI), he has been extremely active in advocacy for children in impoverished environments at the global level. He is a leader in the area of chronically-ill children as survivors of intensive care. More than 1300 residents have rotated through the unit he has directed for the past 35 years. Residents under Dr. Stein's Progressive Care Unitlearn the intricacies of caring for children with technological dependency and the complexities of chronic care, re-imbursement and social and educational re-incorporation of this ever-increasing group of patients



I consider it a great privilege to serve the medical needs of the most important people in your lives, your precious children. As a pediatrician, I especially enjoy the honest (often adorable) interactions with my young patients. And especially meaningful are the deep and great relationships that develop through the years. I have served SLO county children for over 32 years and am now seeing many of my first patients starting their own families!

My goal is to get to know and understand the uniqueness of each child. I strive to affirm, support and empower families as they travel through this marvelous (and yes, sometimes nerve wracking) experience called parenting. I believe that open, honest, non judgmental communication is critical to good medical care and I work hard to achieve that. I am so blessed to have the most awesome families in my practice.  



              Non-Medical Advisors

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The late Mr. Lawford was an early advisor of the foundation. He provided the spark and critical early guidance. He spent much of his life in Washington and Hollywood, navigating these two worlds as an actor, writer, lawyer, activist and public speaker. Mr. Lawford worked with the United Nations, the Canadian Center on Substance Abuse, and the World Health Organization in efforts to raise awareness globally about addiction steps and hepatitis. His uncle, the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, authored the 21st Century Cancer Access to Life-Saving Early Detection, Research and Treatment (ALERT) Act, a comprehensive bill to address the broad issues the nation faces in combatting cancer. Mr. Lawford was an extremely intelligent and compassionate man. He will be sorely missed.



Mr. Hagelstein is President and Chief Executive Officer of the independent advertising agency RPA. His career as a renowned advertising and marketing executive includes work for some of the most prominent brands in the world, including Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Yokohama Tire Corporation, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Men’s Health, and DirecTV. He is also active in a range of civic and professional organizations that include the World Presidents’ Organization, the American Advertising Federation (AAF), the Performing Arts and Music Center of Los Angeles County,
and the AD Council.

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Mr. Peyton is Vice President of Marketing for American Honda and earned his MBA at the University of Southern California. Mr. Peyton joined Honda in 2001 as the senior manager of marketing operations. Later, he served as senior manager of Honda Advertising, directing Honda brand advertising and marketing, which included creative strategy, media, digital, social and event marketing.


Mr. Wall is Chairman of the Estate Planning, Trusts and Probate Practice Group and is a member of the Business and Real Estate Transactions Practice Group. He is certified by the State Bar of California as a specialist in estate planning, trust and probate law. Before starting his law practice, he was a Certified Public Accountant He received his J.D. degree from the University of California–Hastings College of Law in 1986.


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Dr. Jeffrey D. Armstrong began his tenure as Cal Poly's (San Luis Obispo, CA) ninth permanent president on February 1, 2011, with a determination to enhance the University's renowned Learn by Doing teaching approach. Dr. Armstrong brings to Cal Poly a blend of experience as an honored teacher, respected researcher, and experienced administrator. At Cal Poly, he has focused on ways to improve graduation rates. To further bolster student success, he has sought to expand university-industry partnerships to attract more applied research to the campus, thus increasing professional development experiences for faculty in order to enrich classroom instruction.


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Mr. Yoast is the honorary chair of the board of directors for the End Kids' Cancer Foundation. A legendary high school football coach with a career spanning more than 40 years, Yoast is best known for being portrayed in the 2000 film Remember the Titans.


Sue Andersen is Vice President and CFO for Dignity Health Hospitals on the Central Coast of California, including French Hospital Medical Center, Marian Medical Center, St John’s Regional Medical Center and St John’s Pleasant Valley.

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Mr. Kalman is Executive Director and Founder of the End Kids Cancer Foundation. He founded the organization in response to witnessing the devastating pain and loss endured by so many children and their families, by cancer, while caring for his daughter during her prolonged cancer battle.  Also, during this time he learned that the researchers on the cutting edge at the leading cancer centers are on their own when it comes to raising funds for their research. Frank received his undergraduate degree in Marketing/Business from California Polytechnic State University and worked in the marketing department of American Honda Motor Corporation for several years.


Mr. Rathbun is a radio host at KCBX Public Radio, Public Radio     Exchange, Independent producer for Public Radio Exchange, and former Program Manager for KCBX Public Radio, 1986-2011. Guy began his career in broadcasting as a field reporter in 1975. From 1983 to 1991 and again between 1999 and 2011, he taught Broadcasting, Audio Production and Broadcast Writing at Cuesta College