University of Birmingham Cancer Research Receives Funding for Neuroblastoma Clinical Trial for Children

May 24, 2020 | Leading Sites, Neuroblastoma, News, Pediatric Cancer, Site Success, Site Watch, UK, University of Birmingham

University of Birmingham Cancer Research Receives Funding for Neuroblastoma Clinical Trial for Children

The University of Birmingham Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit is the UK national coordinator for the ten-year SIOPEN High-Risk Neuroblastoma Clinical Trial 2 (HR-NBL2), a Phase III clinical trial to assess potential treatment pathways for children diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma. Scheduled to commence in early 2021, the prominent UK university recently received a collaborative grant totaling £609,762.40 (US$743K) from the Solving Kids’ Cancer and Neuroblastoma UK helping to make this possible. This effort seeks to afford UK children the same opportunity as those in Europe that were able to access the first version of this study known has HR-NBL1. Starting 2021, children in the UK newly diagnose with neuroblastoma have a chance to access advanced approaches to care

The Challenge: Neuroblastoma

As reported by the University of Birmingham news, about 100 children per year in the UK are diagnosed with neuroblastoma, with approximately half classified as high-risk. A rare and aggressive childhood cancer, the vast majority of children diagnosed are under 5 and despite intensive multi-modal therapy long-term survival from the high-risk form of the disease remains about 40-50%.

The Funding Organizations

Solving Kids’ Cancer was founded by two fathers who lost their children to cancer. On a mission to identify and address the areas of greatest need in childhood cancer research, the team drives a proactive agenda, putting the children at the center of their actions. Neuroblastoma UK is a UK-based charity dedicated to finding a cure for neuroblastoma.

Building Upon SIOPEN HR-NBL1

The HR-NBL2 clinical trial is a 10-year study, which will enable children in the UK to access the ongoing Europe-wide trial.  This recent commitment of funding is absolutely crucial for children with high-risk neuroblastoma in the UK enabling them to have equal access to this pan-European study. The trial builds on the success of the previous High-Risk Neuroblastoma Trial 1 (HR-NBL1) pan-European study developed by SIOPEN and provides a clinical trial that ensures equal access to the very best treatments and care across the UK, and a pathway for future innovative therapies to be safely administered and studied.

Hopes to Help Children with Terrible Disease

The University of Birmingham will contribute to help improve the chance of survival for newly diagnosed children, giving them the same opportunities that children have ad in Europe. Dr. Emma Pond, Solving Kid’s Cancer Senior Trial Coordinator at the University of Birmingham Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit (CRCTU), declared, “It’s fantastic to have been given this opportunity by Solving Kid’s Cancer and Neuroblastoma UK to bring this trial to UK neuroblastoma patients. We are grateful for the hard work of our UK investigators in our successful grant application and we look forward to working with them to open the trial for patients in early 2021.”

As reported in Neuroblastoma UK, UK patients accounted for 20% of patients recruited to the SIOPEN HR-NBL1 and hence contributed to international research in a material way. The opening of this second study affords children in the UK the same opportunity as is the case across Europe, including the following:

  • Participate in a clinical trial that can improve their chance of survival
  • Benefit from ongoing plans to incorporate clinical trials of targeted agents into upfront treatment for high-risk neuroblastoma, most notably by the addition of an ALK inhibitor for patients whose tumors harbor aberrations in the ALK gene
  • Participate in research looking at how the presence and levels of tumor markers in blood, circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) might be used at diagnosis for ongoing disease response assessments rather that more invasive imaging and biopsy techniques
  • Benefit from ongoing plans to study whether adding anti-GD2 monoclonal antibody therapy alongside induction chemotherapy will improve survival for children with high-risk neuroblastoma
  • Contribute further improvements in clinical outcomes in neuroblastoma by participation in and be able to benefit from the introduction of future innovations over the course of the next 5-year cycle

The University of Birmingham Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit (CRCTU)

CRCTU translates cutting-edge science into improved patient care, both rapidly and safely, through the design and conduct of large multi-center/international randomized trials as well as smaller, more data intensive Phase I trials of novel therapies.

Lead Research/Investigator

Dr. Emma Pond, Solving Kid’s Cancer Senior Trial Coordinator at the University of Birmingham Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit (CRCTU) 

Call to Action: Interested in learning more? Reach out to Sophie Belcher, Communications Manager at University of Birmingham. Are you based in the UK and appreciate this effort—support Solving Kids’ Cancer or Neuroblastoma, or both!

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