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Consortium Opens Landmark Personalized Medicine Children's Cancer Trial

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 General News J E 4
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First-of-its-kind clinical trial to provide new hope for children with advanced cancer receives FDA approval

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., May 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Neuroblastoma and Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium (NMTRC) today announced the opening of a first-of-its-kind genomic-based clinical trial to treat and study pediatric cancer – specifically relapsed and refractory neuroblastoma.

The 11-member NMTRC, housed at Van Andel Research Institute (VARI), is a nationwide network of pediatric cancer clinical trial sites that includes the National Cancer Institute, universities, and children's hospitals that will begin patient enrollment immediately in the FDA approved trial. Neuroblastoma accounts for 15 percent of all pediatric cancer deaths in the United States, and is a disease for which children who relapse have no curative therapies today.

"This trial offers new hope to those children facing the worst of all pediatric cancers," said NMTRC Chair Giselle Sholler, M.D. "We are confident the Genomic-based personalized medicine approach, often defined as 'the right treatment for the right patient at the right time,' will provide the necessary data to validate this approach as the new standard of care in the 21st Century."

Neuroblastoma is a particularly deadly pediatric tumor of the peripheral nervous system, usually diagnosed in children age six and younger. Current standard treatment for neuroblastoma includes chemotherapy, surgery, bone marrow transplants, radiation and antibody therapy. Patients diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma have a less than 40 percent five-year survival rate.

Genomic-guided therapy leverages next generation sequencing and gene expression technologies to identify subtle differences in an individual's genetic makeup that provides a clearer picture of their disease state.

Five NMTRC member hospitals are now enrolling patients, including Drs. Giselle Sholler, Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Joel Kaplan, Levine Children's Hospital, Charlotte, N.C.; Don Eslin, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Orlando, Fla.; Javed Khan, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.; and William Ferguson, SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center, St. Louis, Mo.

VARI President and Research Director, Jeffrey M. Trent, Ph.D., said the NMTRC study would have an immediate impact.

"This effort speaks to the sense of urgency shared by all those involved," said Trent, "This initiative promises to have a profound impact on pediatric patients across the country, and in the coming years, around the world."

For full press release visit Van Andel Institute at www.vai.org.

www.vai.org

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SOURCE Van Andel Institute

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