In addition to caring for patients, our physicians also are scientists who are working to advance treatments for neuroblastoma. As part of the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center, our pediatric oncology program is involved in laboratory research and also has extensive experience with clinical trials.
Clinical Trials for Neuroblastoma
The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital has special approval to allow some teens into adult-focused clinical trials. Beginning at age 14, patients may be eligible to participate in studies of anti-cancer agents that our physician-scientists are investigating in adults. In addition, our membership in the Children's Oncology Group connects us to more than 250 other medical centers worldwide that participate in phase 2 and phase 3 clinical trials of promising new drug therapies.
As a member of the New Approaches to Neuroblastoma Therapy (NANT) consortium, Comer Children's is one of only 14 medical centers in North America with access to phase 1 clinical trials. Physicians may recommend that patients with aggressive, relapsed neuroblastoma enroll in these trials if they have limited success with more standard therapies.
View a list of neuroblastoma clinical trials underway at Comer Children's.
Leaders in Neuroblastoma Research
In addition to testing the effectiveness of new treatments through clinical trials, physicians and scientists here also conduct long-term studies and research in the lab. With close cooperation between research and patient care activities, discoveries made in the lab can be translated into clinical advances that may improve treatment options for neuroblastoma.
Our physician-scientists currently are investigating:
- The role of race and ethnicity in neuroblastoma outcomes
- How genetic variations appear to pre-dispose children to develop certain severe forms of neuroblastoma
- The effect of D-amino acid peptides on tumor growth
- How a patient's genotype influences his or her reaction to a drug (a field known as pharmacogenomics) and how physicians can use this knowledge to optimize treatment plans
In addition, Susan Cohn, MD, serves as co-chair of the International Neuroblastoma Risk Group (INRG) task force — a group of pediatric oncologists dedicated to transforming neuroblastoma research and clinical care. Under her leadership, Samuel Volchenboum, MD, PhD, MS, and other neuroblastoma experts are working to develop an interactive database. This database allows researchers across institutions — and continents — to share clinical trial outcomes. It also includes demographic information collected by the INRG, as well as biobank and genomic data collected from around the world. The result is a tool that provides an international risk classification system and helps to advance treatment options for all patients with neuroblastoma.