Dr. Adamson to Chair Children's Oncology Group

Published on in CHOP News

December 7, 2009 — Peter C. Adamson, MD, a pediatric oncologist and leading scientist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, was selected to lead the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) in its efforts to find cures for children with cancer.

Leader in pediatric cancer drug development

An internationally recognized leader in pediatric cancer drug development, Dr. Adamson will assume his new role with Children's Oncology Group (COG) on Jan. 1, 2010. He was elected by principal investigators of more than 200 Children's Oncology Group sites. COG unites more than 5,000 experts in childhood cancer at leading children’s hospitals, universities and cancer centers across North America, Australia, New Zealand and Europe in the fight against childhood cancer.

Dr. Adamson's broad experience working with many investigators and industry partners, his own extensive research efforts, and his participation in key scientific committees of the National Cancer Institute give him a unique perspective on the challenges facing the cancer clinical trial system, said Steven M. Altschuler, MD, president and CEO of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “As chair of the Children’s Oncology Group, he will play a crucial role in advancing treatment for childhood cancer.

Dr. Adamson, who came to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in 1999 from the National Cancer Institute, is the director of Clinical and Translational Research and chief of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics at Children's Hospital. He also is a professor of Pediatrics and Pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He will remain on the staff of Children's Hospital and on the Penn faculty while serving as Children's Oncology Group chair.

Dr. Adamson’s previous roles at Children's Oncology Group have included leading a 21-site phase 1 consortium that conducted initial evaluations of drugs being developed to treat cancer in children. During the eight years that Dr. Adamson led this effort, the collaborating sites conducted more than 25 studies designed to test the safety of novel anticancer drugs.

"Scientific discovery today is occurring at an unprecedented pace, but the clinical trial system that historically worked so well is showing a diminishing rate of return in our ability to cure children,” said Dr. Adamson. “This system was not designed to rapidly bring findings from the bench to the bedside, and a transformation of the system’s approach is needed to propel translational efforts on an international scale.

"I hope to fully leverage the emerging discoveries being made at a rapid pace by transforming how research moves from the bench to the bedside in a very large collaboration," he added.

Collaborating on pediatric cancer research

Children's Oncology Group was the first group to recognize the importance of collaboration in pediatric research, as even common childhood cancers are rare enough that no one center treats the number of children required for large-scale clinical trials. Today, more than 90 percent of the 12,500 children diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States are treated at COG institutions, with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia being one of the largest such centers in the world.

Emerging research shows that even the more common childhood cancers are actually a mix of different diseases, each potentially requiring a different specific therapy. Creating such disease-targeted therapies for children with cancer requires a better pathway for moving from the bench to the bedside, which Dr. Adamson will lead through expanding COG’s role at Children’s Hospital and fostering new and enhanced collaborations with Children's Oncology Group sites throughout the world.

"We are looking forward to working with Dr. Adamson in his new leadership role with the Children’s Oncology Group,” said John L. Lehr, president and CEO of CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation. “Dr. Adamson’s life-long dedication to children with cancer is remarkable and we remain committed to supporting the efforts of the Children’s Oncology Group to conquer childhood cancer."

Dr. Adamson's background

A resident of Medford, NJ, Dr. Adamson received his MD from Cornell University Medical College and performed his pediatric residency at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia from 1984 to 1987. He then became a fellow in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the National Cancer Institute, where he also served as a Biotechnology fellow, a Children’s Cancer Foundation Research Scholar, an investigator and an attending physician over the course of 12 years before returning to Children’s Hospital.