Solving Kids' Cancer, the Neuroblastoma Children's Cancer Alliance (NCCA UK), and Joining Against Cancer in Kids (J-A-C-K) awarded its first grant through their INBRACED (International Neuroblastoma Research and Collaboration for Effective Delivery) initiative, which aims to improve access of promising clinical trials for children with high-risk neuroblastoma in North America, the UK and in Europe. The grant amount of $400,000 will create a new immunotherapy treatment option in the U.S., UK, and in Spain, for children with relapsed or refractory disease. The international phase I clinical trial will use a vaccine that targets the GD2 and GD3 antigens, which has already shown promising results in children with neuroblastoma in the U.S.
The low-toxicity vaccine was developed by researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York City, which is participating in the trial alongside Bristol Children's Hospital in the UK, and the Hospital Sant Joan de Du Barcelona, in Spain. The vaccine utilizes a child's own immune system to help the body recognize and destroy cancer cells that express the two antigens most commonly found on the surface of neuroblastoma cellsGD2 and GD3, potentially promoting long-term remissions in these children. A phase I trial with this same vaccine was recently completed at MSKCC with 15 patients and demonstrated very promising results; the results were published in the March 2014 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.
This is the first international clinical trial for children with cancer that has been initiated and sponsored solely by pediatric cancer nonprofits. "The success of this new partnership lies in the amazing determination of UK and U.S. charities, parents, research institutions, doctors and pharmaceutical organization to help more children survive," said Bettina Bungay-Balway, Chief Executive of the London-based NCCA UK.
"We truly hope this will speed the exploration and evolution of potential therapies for the children and their families blighted by neuroblastoma," said Richard Brown, Chair at J-A-C-K.
Neuroblastoma is a cancer of the sympathetic nervous system that most commonly occurs in infants and children under five. The cancer is usually discovered after it has spread. Half of all children diagnosed have high-risk neuroblastoma, one of the most aggressively treated of all childhood cancers. Unfortunately, even after intense chemotherapy and radiation, the cancer often returns in many children. Immunotherapy clinical trials have shown dramatic results in adults and in children with leukemia in the U.S., but such novel options are limited in the UK and in Europe.
"All families should have access to novel experimental treatment options and not have to travel across continents or go in debt for a chance to treat their child," said Scott Kennedy, the Executive Director of Solving Kids' Cancer. "Our goal as part of INBRACED is to have the leading cancer centers in the U.S., U.K., and Europe collaborate on clinical trials to develop treatments with the highest potential for cures."
Solving Kids' Cancer