Research update - September 2020

This Autumn we are extremely busy with our ongoing International Neuroblastoma Research Initiatives, which were launched to challenge the neuroblastoma research community to address specific areas of unmet need. 

The 2018 International Neuroblastoma Research Initiative brings together 7 international funding partners providing a grant of $1.4M and was a call for improvement in frontline therapy for newly diagnosed children. 3 proposals were submitted and over the summer these were extensively reviewed by a panel of international experts to determine which should be awarded funding. An announcement of the outcome of this grant will be made very shortly. 

Our 2019 International Neuroblastoma Research Initiative is a collaboration of 6 international funding partners, with a £500,000 award available for researchers to investigate the biology and treatment of chemo-resistant disease (refractory neuroblastoma). Normally, clinical trials for relapsed neuroblastoma also allow children with refractory disease to enroll on them, but we want to do better than that for these children and understand what characterises and drives this form of neuroblastoma so that more effective treatment strategies can be found. The closing date for full proposals is 14th September, and we expect to make an announcement by the end of 2020. 

Our Chair and Research Director, Nick Bird, contributed to an academic publication which summarises the recent meeting of the Neuroblastoma Drug Development Strategy forum. This group of experts analysed pre-clinical and clinical data for 40 genetic targets and mechanisms of action, identifying which were the highest priority for children and how to optimise research in these areas. It was concluded that a coordinated trans-Atlantic approach is critical. You can read more on the ITCC website here

Our Head of Research, Leona Knox, also recently co-authored an academic publication which highlights the legislative change which will bring new opportunities in the global effort to develop new drugs for children with cancer. The RACE for Children Act requires that drugs and biological products be assessed early in paediatric cancers if the drug or biological product is directed at a relevant molecular target, ending current exemptions based on disease type. A synopsis of the article, titled “The RACE to accelerate drug development for children with cancer” is available here