Research update - June 2021

In March the members of our Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) came together to discuss the latest developments in our research work as well as future planning for the charity. It was established by all of our esteemed SAB members that the charity has achieved so much in our research work in recent years, and really has invested in projects of the highest quality, which are all making fantastic progress even in the face of a global health crisis. 

It was also great to initiate talks about what’s on the horizon for our future research endeavours. After a difficult year for charities everywhere, it is important now more than ever to build a robust infrastructure for funding clinical research that matches our passion to build a better future for children with neuroblastoma. Having our SAB to advise us on our next steps is an invaluable part of this process, and again allowed us to reflect on the successes we have had in setting up ambitious, collaborative projects up to now. 

Last month we also announced our latest research project, the Solving Indolent Neuroblastoma study, in partnership with Zoé4LifeSolving Kids’ Cancer USOscar Knox FundMerryn Lacy Trust and Joining Against Cancer in Kids (JACK). The project led by Dr. John Maris at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia will involve preclinical studies into biomarkers of chemo-resistant disease, as well as better ways to identify this sub-type of neuroblastoma at diagnosis, and treat it more effectively.

This work has been launched following our 2019 International Neuroblastoma Research Initiative, which called for research specifically focused on refractory neuroblastoma which does not respond well to standard therapies. It is the first call of this kind to focus solely on this group of children, who currently have extremely limited options for innovative treatments.

Our Head of Research Leona Knox recently attended the 2nd Annual Meeting of the European Society for Paediatric Oncology which took place 28th - 30th April, as a virtual event. There were 1554 attendees from 65 countries, coming together to share the latest information about treating and caring for children and adolescents with cancer. 

Some of the topics discussed by the SIOPE-Neuroblastoma (SIOPEN) group included the development of novel trials, how best to incorporate immunotherapy into treatment strategies, and how to harmonise the approach to relapse therapy for children right across Europe.