By Stephanie Stahl

By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Celebrities will be filling the stage at tonight’s Stand Up To Cancer event, on CBS at 8 p.m., to help raise money for cancer research. 3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl speaks with one family who hopes local research funded by tonight’s event can potentially save their young boy’s life.

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The yarn table is supposed to be a fun distraction for Andrew Shan. But the six-year-old is battling neuroblastoma, cancer of the nervous system.

“Every day you’re fearing for your child’s life, and there really is no way to describe it,” said Betty Shan, Andrew’s mother.

Since Andrew was diagnosed a year and a half ago, traditional treatments including chemotherapy haven’t worked. And they made the once happy little boy very sick.

“You want to say you do this and it will make you better, and you can’t say that. And that’s hard,” said Betty.

Dr. John Maris at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia says treatments for neuroblastoma are better, but still very limited and difficult. He’s about to start a new trial on an immunotherapy that’s been successful for treating leukemia. T cells are engineered to attack cancer. Now they’re going to see if t cells can also be targeted to destroy neuroblastoma.

“There is no doubt that immunotherapy will play a very important role in curing neuroblastoma, and the hope is that as we get better at the immunotherapy we can pull back on the very toxic chemotherapy and radiation therapy,” said Dr. Maris.

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The new research that might be able to help Andrew is funded in part by Stand Up To Cancer.

“I couldn’t be more grateful that this opportunity came cause it came at I think a real critical junction” said Dr. Maris.

“We’re just grateful there are options. We just wish they could come faster,” said Betty.

Andrew’s family is hoping the Stand Up To Cancer research will be able to save his life, or at least help other children with neuroblastoma.

“You look at these kids and they deserve better. They deserve us to fight for them,” said Betty.

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is part of the only pediatric dream team funded by Stand Up To Cancer in the United States. It’s doctors across the country working together to advance the research as fast as possible.

CHOP’s Refractory Neuroblastoma Treatment Program Information: http://www.chop.edu/service/oncology/our-programs/refractory-neuroblastoma-program.html

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Stephanie Stahl