Dr Louis Chesler, Reader in Paediatric Solid Tumour Biology and Therapeutics at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and Honorary Consultant at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said:
"Increasing the number of paediatric cancer trials can have enormous benefits for children with cancer, by increasing the number of drugs available to them, improving doctors' knowledge about how best to use drugs in children, and providing treatment in a best-practice clinical trial environment.
"Many cancer drugs developed for adults could be effective in children if we were able to test them in clinical trials. But the current system allows drug manufacturers to avoid testing their products in children, on the flawed grounds that adult cancers don't have direct children's equivalents even where there is a common mechanism of action."
Professor Alan Ashworth, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:
"It's essential that ground-breaking cancer treatments are tested not only in adults but also in children, whenever the mechanism of action of the drug suggests they could be effective. That requires a change to EU rules, since the current system is failing to provide children with access to new treatments that could add years to their lives.
"Modern cancer treatments are often targeted at genetic features of the tumour that may be common to a number of tumour types, and to adults' and children's cancers. That means a drug developed for a cancer in adults could also be effective against a cancer affecting a completely different part of the body in children. The way EU rules are implemented fails to take this into account."
Professor Gilles Vassal, Head of Clinical Research at Gustave Roussy and Chair of the European Consortium for Innovative Therapies for Children with Cancer, said:
"The European Paediatric Medicine regulation significantly chan
|Contact: Henry French|
Institute of Cancer Research