Pediatric cancer charities partner to fund international collaborative research
Mar 4, 2013 - 5:00:00 AM
Solving Kids' Cancer, along with U.K.-based charities Neuroblastoma Alliance UK, J-A-C-K, and other European organizations have aligned forces to improve access to promising clinical trials for children with high-risk neuroblastoma in North America, the U.K. and Europe. The aim of the International Neuroblastoma Research Collaborative (INBRC) is to bring the cancer research community together to produce immunotherapy options to treat, control and prevent the recurrence of neuroblastoma in children. The new initiative mandates a collaboration of international cancer centers, offering a grant award of up to $500,000 (USD).
The pediatric cancer charities have partnered for the first time to create new treatments for children with neuroblastoma who at best, have a 5 percent chance of survival after relapse.
Neuroblastoma is a cancer of the sympathetic nervous system that most commonly occurs in infants and children under 5 years old. The cancer is usually discovered after it has spread. Half of all children are diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma, which is one of the most aggressively treated of all cancers. Standard treatments include months of chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, and stem cell transplant, followed by additional months of maintenance therapy.
Even after such intense treatment, about 60 percent of children relapse within three years, said Scott Kennedy, the Executive Director of Solving Kids' Cancer. Immunotherapy can offer these children less toxic and more effective treatments, and offers more potential of curing relapsed neuroblastoma than chemotherapy and radiation.
Immunotherapy for cancer has rapidly advanced in recent years and shown success in some adult cancers, but few options are available for children, especially in Europe.
This collaboration is significant, not only because of the amount of funding but also because we are creating more access to clinical trials for children, said Richard Brown, Chair at J-A-C-K. Alliances can bring new ideas; focus new energies; and produce new action to defeat a cancer that preys upon the youngest. By bringing together both the advocacy community and the scientific community to work across continents, we can only maximize the hope that options such as immunotherapy may offer to children affected by neuroblastoma.
Neuroblastoma Alliance UK's Chief Executive, Alison Moy, agreed, We are really excited to be involved in this collaboration, which is taking parent advocacy and the involvement of charities in furthering research to a new level. As neuroblastoma only affects children, it is not considered a common cancer and therefore research funding has been limited. We believe that children should be able to access the best possible treatment, wherever that may be and that's why we support families to access clinical treatment abroad. We hope that through the INBRC project, more children from the U.K. will be able get effective treatment, wherever that trial is taking place.
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