In order to improve the treatment for childhood cancer and its side effects, it is necessary to carry out research. Our unit is involved in many national and international trials as well as studies we conduct locally that investigate many aspects of cancer care including:
- Improvement of current standard treatments for different types of cancer.
- New anti cancer drugs (often referred to as early phase clinical trials).
- Studies looking more closely at the biology of cancer and its treatment (biological studies).
- Studies looking more closely at the way drugs are used by the body (Pharmacokinetic or PK studies).
- Improving the quality of life of people who have been treated for cancer.
- Improvement of services for children, teenagers and young adults with cancer.
Most investigations into new procedures and drugs start in the laboratory and are then well tested on adults before being introduced into the ward or clinic. Some trials are looking at new drugs and whether they may have any benefits in paediatric oncology. Other trials involve the use of drugs that are well established in the treatment of cancer but examine their benefits when they are compared to other standard treatment or are administered in a slightly different regimen. All trials are submitted to a research ethics committee for approval before they can be conducted.
There is a research team comprising of nurses, trial assistant & support workers and data managers for the paediatric/ TYA oncology unit, who have wide and varied experience in oncology and research. Between them they coordinate and run the research and clinical trials on the unit & they visit the clinical areas every day. They may come and see you when you are on the ward or in the clinic to talk to you about a study or trial that may be relevant to your child’s treatment and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
If you are approached and asked if you would like your child to take part in one or more of the trials, you will be given all the necessary information and your consent would be entirely voluntary. You are free to refuse to take part, and this will not affect your child’s care in anyway.
If you participate in a trial you will be spoken to in detail before you make a decision. You will be kept up to date during the study and your child will be monitored closely both during and afterwards.
The research team have a large commitment to research. This is reflected in the size of the team and the large portfolio of studies that we are involved in.
These studies can be local (within LTHT), national, Europe wide or global projects. Because childhood , teenage and young adult cancers are very rare the research is best co-ordinated via a national network in order to recruit a large enough population of patients to make the results significant and delivered within a defined timescale.
To conduct this research and to facilitate a wide range of studies we are involved with many agencies:
- ECMC - Experimental Cancer Medicines Centre
- CCLG - Children’s cancer and leukaemia group
- NIHR - National institute for Health Research
- Various Commercial companies
- CLRN - Comprehensive local research network
- YCRN - Yorkshire cancer research Network
- MCRN - Medicines for Children Network
- CRUK - Cancer Research UK
- ITCC - Innovative therapies for Children with Cancer
Disease groups for which we currently have studies available or planned for are:
- CNS tumours (Brain and spinal tumours)
- Liver tumours
- Hodgkin’s disease
- Non Hodgkin’s lymphomas
- Germ Cell tumours
- Kidney tumours
- Ewing sarcomas
Improving the treatments for cancer is very important and forms a large part of what we do but we also conduct research into reducing the side effects of cancer therapies, new drugs to help combat these side effects, biological factors that affect cancer and the effect cancer has on people’s lives both in the short and long term.
How can I be involved?
Many of our studies are specific group of patients and part of the role of our research nurses is to regularly check for these “eligible” patients so that when they attend the ward or clinic they can be approached by the research nurses or medical staff about a study. However some of our studies may be conducted across many disease groups. If you are interested in taking part in a study and want to find out If there is something available for you IT IS OK TO ASK!
You can ask the Doctors on the ward or in clinic.
You can ask the ward staff to contact the research team and we will come to see you either on the ward or in clinic, our number is 0113 3922159.