Creating disease-targeted therapies for children with cancer requires a better pathway for moving from the bench to the bedside.
As the recently selected chair of the Children's Oncology Group (COG), a group of more 200 centers that brings together 5,000 international experts in childhood cancer, I am in constant contact with leading researchers across the country. There are great opportunities ahead to improve the outcome for children with cancer, and we are hard at work trying to speed the timeline so the most promising new therapies can move forward. We are working on creating better pathways for disease-targeted therapies for children with cancer, and are focusing our efforts on transforming how new discoveries can move from the bench to the bedside, a process called translational research.
For more than eight years I led a group of 21 institutions that performed the initial evaluation of new drugs for children with cancer. We conducted more than 25 Phase I studies; these studies are the first clinical trials of new anticancer drugs in children whose cancer has recurred despite best-known treatments. I thus have direct knowledge of the investigational new drug trials being conducted not only at Children's Hospital, but at centers worldwide. This allows me to serve as a resource on experimental cancer treatment for Children's Hospital clinicians. For the child whose cancer has recurred, these are the kinds of trials they often seek out.
Even though we have come a long way in our ability to cure children with many types of cancer, we must still strive to find cures for all children. We also must develop treatments that have fewer side effects. Together with the COG, doctors at Children's Hospital are helping to lead the way in this effort.
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