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Children's Hospital Cancer Study Finds Adolescents and Young Adults Don't Get Same Access to Cutting-Edge Treatment as Younger Patients
Date:1/15/2008

aw and study co-author A. Kim Ritchey, MD, chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Children's and vice chair of Clinical Affairs in the Department of Pediatrics, studied 640 new oncology patients treated at Children's between July 1, 2001, and June 30, 2006. The patients ranged in age from birth to 22 years old. The study found that:

-- 38 percent of patients younger than 15 were enrolled in a clinical

trial.

-- 27 percent of AYA patients were enrolled in a clinical trial.

-- 41 percent of patients younger than 15 were not treated on a clinical

trial because one was not available.

-- 57 percent of AYA patients were not treated on a clinical trial because

one was not available.

"These findings underscore the need for AYA patients to be treated at centers such as children's hospitals that are involved in national cooperatives offering clinical trials of new treatments for pediatric and adolescent cancers," Dr. Ritchey said. "There also is a need for more national trials to be opened for AYA patients and the types of malignancies most common to them."

The national Children's Oncology Group -- of which Children's is a member -- has an AYA subcommittee on which Dr. Shaw serves that currently is evaluating the types of cancers affecting AYA patients and ways to increase clinical trials available to these patients, according to Drs. Shaw and Ritchey.

One strategy for ensuring that AYA patients are treated by oncologists who are most up-to-date on clinical trials and cutting-edge treatment programs is for pediatric oncology divisions to establish AYA oncology programs in cooperation with adult oncology counterparts.

In 2006, Children's partnered with colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute to establish an unparalleled AYA Oncology Program. It combines the latest and most effective treatment options with a comprehensive family-centered approach to c
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SOURCE Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
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