Progress update

Solving Kids’ Cancer, Band of Parents, Joining Against Cancer in Kids, Ronan Thompson Foundation, Wade’s Army and Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation are pleased to provide an update on their 2018 International Challenge Grant Call. 

Our revised 2018 RFA is a $1.4 million research call for improvement in survival and quality of cure through an innovative pilot study for newly diagnosed high-risk neuroblastoma patients OR for patients with relapsed or refractory high-risk neuroblastoma that, if successful, will be moved rapidly into frontline. 

In response to the revised RFA, issued in February of this year, we received three Letters of Intent that were all assessed by the Scientific Advisory Board of Solving Kids’ Cancer as having met eligibility criteria and deemed scientifically strong enough to take forward to the next stage of the process.  

Lead applicants have been informed of this decision and asked to develop full proposals by 13 March 2020. This timeline is to allow for two separate meetings between international collaborators - one later this year and a second at the start of 2020. To support efforts to overcome the significant and complex challenges involved in designing and delivering a transatlantic clinical trial that fits with ongoing studies and strategically with future plans of COG (America) and SIOPEN (Europe), we have provided small feasibility grants to each research team to support their efforts. 

At this stage we are unable to share details of the proposals publicly due to the need to ensure the competition remains fair and credible, in no way do we wish to risk compromising an ongoing application process. In particular, it is for those leading each project to discuss with other members of the research community as appropriate as they finalise the team of co-investigators and collaborators. 

This initiative, instigated by our international group of parent-led charities, is already proving to be landscape changing. Together we have achieved something tangible that has not been done before. Namely, for international researchers from around the globe to come together in a meaningful way and seek to develop studies that will impact frontline treatment of neuroblastoma simultaneously in Europe, America and potentially beyond. If progress thus far ultimately translates into the first-ever transatlantic study in newly diagnosed neuroblastoma it will truly represent a paradigm shift and the opportunities going forward in the future will only become greater for it.

2018 RFA v2 

Our original 2018 RFA was issued in April 2018 with the hugely bold and ambitious goal of improving treatment for newly diagnosed children with high-risk neuroblastoma in North America and Europe simultaneously through transatlantic collaboration.  

In many respects a transatlantic clinical trial has been something of a holy grail for the neuroblastoma research community, often discussed over the years as a means to provide both a clear path to benefit as many children as possible while at the same time moving the field of clinical research forward as quickly as possible.  

To this point, it has never actually happened. 

Trying to break new ground is never simple or without risk of failure. Our collective exuberance and passionate desire for better for children with neuroblastoma had possibly led us initially to be a little over-ambitious, or try to take the international research community somewhere it wasn’t yet quite ready to go. However, after regrouping, funding partners jointly agreed that we should be neither disheartened nor deterred - our endeavour was too important not to try again. 

To that end, our funding call was amended and re-issued earlier this year. While maintaining the same ambition and ultimate goal we relaxed some of the conditions to encourage proposals that researchers believed could be more readily developed and delivered transatlantically.  

The positive responses we’ve had to the revised RFA give us belief that we remain on track to make a difference to children with newly diagnosed high-risk neuroblastoma in both Europe and America. Details of the original 2018 RFA can be found here.