International Clinical Trials Day

The Children’s Cancer Foundation joins the medical community in marking International Clinical Trials Day on Friday, 20 May, a celebration of the advancements achieved through clinical trials.

Over recent years, the Foundation has provided around $1.8 million in support of clinical trials, including a current commitment to funding three clinical trials staff at The Royal Children’s Hospital and Monash Children’s Hospital. Clinical trials supported by the Foundation aim to develop new and kinder treatments for children with cancer.

A clinical trial, considered by hospitals as ‘research‘, is the first opportunity for a child to be treated with a new cancer drug. Clinical trials are divided into four phases, each meant to further assess the safety, optimal dose and effectiveness of the drug or treatment regimen. The Foundation funds staff resourcing for the early phase or ‘research’ clinical trials. These trials may involve the addition of a new medication or medications, variation in the doses or a different schedule for giving a medication. Early phase trials are particularly important for children with poor prognosis cancer or those who have failed with standard treatment.

When a new treatment is being studied, it is not usually known whether it will be helpful, harmful, or no different than available alternatives. However clinical trials have resulted in outstanding results: for example, clinical trials have increased the 5-year survival rate of children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia to around 90%. New targeted therapies, including immunotherapies, are bringing extraordinary results. We eagerly await the outcomes from the CAR T cell trial currently underway at The Royal Children’s Hospital with funding support from the Foundation.

In marking this special day, Children’s Cancer Foundation gives thanks to clinical research professionals, regulatory agencies and our supporters for ensuring that more and more patients have access to new treatments for their disease, benefitting children now and in the future.

Doctor in laboratory