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Child cancer trial launched

10th December 2009

Scientists have launched a new trial into neuroblastoma child cancer.


They want to see if boosting the immune system can prevent a return of the cancer, which affects the developing nervous system.

It is most common in the under five age group and accounts for a sixth of child cancer deaths.

Cancer Research UK is funding the UK arm of the trial for 160 children over four years as part of a Europe-wide trial seeking to build on earlier results from a US study.

That showed that immunotherapy improved the chances of survival from the disease.

Lead researcher Dr Penelope Brock, a consultant paediatric oncologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital, said: "Early results from the US trial found that children who received the immunotherapy treatment had less chance of the disease coming back two years later, compared with the patients who did not receive the immunotherapy.

"We need to build on these results and devise better immunotherapy approaches that improve survival further."

Neuroblastoma develops in the neural crest cells which are involved in the development of the nervous system with tumours forming in various locations. Some 60% of children are now successfully treated but the prognosis is not as good for children with advanced forms of the disease.

The new treatment would “hunt down” the neuroblastoma cells that survived conventional treatment, mobilising the body’s immune defences to destroy the cells.

The US study highlighted severe side effects. The UK trial giving eligible children immunotherapy treatment will attempt to reduce these.


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Article Information

Title: Child cancer trial launched
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 13489
Date Added: 10th Dec 2009


BBC News

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