The tremendous progress made in pediatric cancer cure rates over the past 50 years came about because treatments for all childhood cancers have been continually improved through research protocols organized internationally by the Children's Oncology Group (COG), an association of institutes dedicated to research in pediatric oncology.
- Children's is among the top 10 hospitals in COG for numbers of children enrolled with newly diagnosed cancer treated each year.
- Nearly 90 percent of our eligible patients participate in clinical trials.
- With greater than 100 open COG studies, the majority of which are clinical trials, patients at Children's are able to receive the newest treatment options available.
Clinical trial on neuroblastoma
Children's recently participated in a clinical trial for patients with neuroblastoma, a common solid tumor in children.
During the trial, 226 patients with neuroblastoma were randomly assigned to receive standard treatment, or standard treatment plus immunotherapy. The immunotherapy targets the neuroblastoma cancer cells as well as other substances that stimulate the patient's own immune cells to attack cancer cells. This trial was concluded a year earlier than expected. The early results showed that patient survival without experiencing a relapse of the disease was 20 percent higher in the patients in the immune therapy group compared to the standard treatment group.
As a result, Children's is currently one of 30 COG centers participating in a new study that is researching the side effects of this immunotherapy to determine whether it should become the new standard of care for all high-risk neuroblastoma patients.
Clinical Trials for Young Adults with Pediatric Cancers
According to the National Cancer Institute, sometimes teens and young adults with pediatric cancers do better with treatment approaches tailored to young children rather than those designed for older adults. Furthermore, clinical trials are an important treatment option for cancer patients of all ages, and often yield better results for patients who participate than those who do not. At Children's, 15- to 19-year-old teens and young adults are enrolled in clinical trials at four times the national average for the same age group. The information from these trials is already influencing the way adult oncologists treat young adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.