CHOA Experimental Therapy Pediatric Oncology Research.
The Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) is one of the largest pediatric oncology programs in the United States and an important contributor to accrual on cooperative group clinical trials both for newly diagnosed and relapsed patients. In 2005, a total of 320 newly diagnosed patients were seen and a total of 73 stem cell transplants were performed. In addition, 92 relapsed patients were seen, unfortunately some of whom had recurred on more than one occasion. Over the last 4 years, the expansion of the experimental therapy program has been a top priority within the division of hematology/oncology and stem cell transplant at CHOA. During this time, the number of oncology phase I and II trials at CHOA has increased from 3 to 30 and the number of patients on these trials has nearly doubled. While some of these patients have been enrolled on Children’s Oncology Group (COG) trials, more than half of these patients have been treated on non-COG trials, including some through other phase I and II cooperative groups such as the New Approaches to Neuroblastoma Therapy (NANT) consortium, Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Investigators Consortium (POETIC), and the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium (PBMTC). In 2003, the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service Clinical Research Office (CRO) was created and functions as the supporting infrastructure for all hematology/oncology clinical trials at CHOA. The Clinical Research Office has accomplished many important objectives in the last two years that has facilitated opening greater numbers of trials and enrolling increasing numbers of patients on phase I and II trials. In order to manage the tremendous clinical volumes and increased number of clinical trials while maintaining quality control, accurate and timely data management, and enrollment of the majority of eligible patients, the Clinical Research Office infrastructure requires additional support, primarily with additional personnel among whom the workload can be better distributed. In addition, experimental therapy trials are open at two separate CHOA hospitals which creates logistical challenges for clinical research staff attempting to support phase I and II trials on two different campuses. Clinical Research Office personnel are functioning beyond maximal capacity.
It is the goal of the Clinical Research Office of CHOA to increase access to experimental therapy protocols for patients from within our system as well to patients from around the country and in particular the southeastern United States. Therefore, this grant seeks funding to provide additional resources that can be used to hire personnel who will further support the Experimental Therapy program of the Clinical Research Office at CHOA and that will allow a greater number of patients to be enrolled on phase I and II trials. Ultimately, our main goal is to further improve survival rates for all children with cancer, but in particular to help provide a better outlook for children suffering from relapsed, poorly-responsive, and high-risk disease.
Dr. Katzenstein received a 2010 Program Infrastructure Grant.