Rare childhood cancer clinical trial to be run in UK from Birmingham

blood samples

A Birmingham Health Partners team will coordinate the UK arm of a critical European clinical trial which could lead to the development of more effective, kinder treatments for children diagnosed with a rare and aggressive childhood cancer.

Funded by a collaborative grant of more than £609,000  awarded by Solving Kids’ Cancer with Neuroblastoma UK, the ten year SIOPEN High-Risk Neuroblastoma Clinical Trial 2 (HR-NBL2) is a Phase 3 clinical trial to assess potential treatment pathways for children diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma. Scheduled to open in early 2021, the funding will make the trial the only upfront clinical trial for children diagnosed with the disease in the UK.

Around 100 children a 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 around 40-50%.

The University of Birmingham Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit (CRCTU), where Solving Kids’ Cancer funds a dedicated senior Trials Coordinator for Neuroblastoma, is the UK national coordinator and will have the responsibility for delivering the trial across UK sites.

Dr Emma Pond, Solving Kid’s Cancer Senior Trial Coordinator at CRCTU said: “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.”

It is hoped that the trial could significantly improve the chance of survival for newly diagnosed children, giving them the same opportunities as children in the European arms of the trial as well as allowing them to participate in research that could improve diagnosis and find less invasive imaging and biopsy techniques.