The mission of the Children’s Oncology Group
(COG) is to cure and prevent childhood and adolescent cancer through scientific discovery and compassionate care. To accomplish this mission, the Children’s Oncology Group:
- Designs and conducts clinical trials to define optimal therapy for children and adolescents with cancer. Currently, COG has more than 110 Phase I, II, and III active clinical trials which enroll approximately 5,000 patients annually, with over 70,000 patients in active follow up.
- Conducts laboratory research which will translate into more effective treatments with reduced short and long term side effects.
- Seeks to identify causes of childhood cancer with an ultimate goal of developing prevention strategies.
- Conducts research to improve quality of life and survivorship.
The Children's Oncology Group and its role in Clinical Trials
Everything now known about the cure of children with cancer has been learned from research. Children's Oncology Group members include experts in pediatric hematology, oncology and surgery, orthopedic and neurosurgery, radiology, radiation oncology and pediatric tumor pathology. They are joined by pediatric oncology nurses, pediatric oncology social workers, pharmacists, child life specialists,psychologists, nutritionists, clinical research associates and laboratory scientists who are specialists in many biomedical research disciplines related to cancer.
To help develop new ways to treat children’s cancer, Children's Oncology Group members submit diagnostic, treatment and follow up data to the COG Research Data Center. Because the data from many patients are combined, clinical trials obtain results more rapidly and new treatments are developed hundreds of times faster.
Every advancement in curing childhood cancer has come through research. CureSearch Children’s Oncology Group is considered the premier childhood cancer research organization in the world. It has treated more children with cancer than any other organization in history and has been responsible for many of the improvements in the treatment and cure rates of childhood cancers.
Since the 1950s, cooperative research has improved the survival rates for childhood cancer from less than 10% to over 77% overall.
Pediatric cancer research has also paid dividends in
- understanding the basic biology of cancer
- treating adults with cancer and
- providing principles of therapy and advances for other diseases of children and adults.
- Chemotherapy was first shown to be effective in curing children with cancer.
- The discovery of the first tumor suppressor gene occurred in children with cancer.
- The principle of multi-modal therapy was pioneered in childhood cancer.
Following are some of the major advances made by The Children's Oncology Group and its legacy research groups over the past 10 years:
- Decreased childhood cancer mortalityby 25%.
- Improved survival of acute lymphoblastic leukemia from 70% to 80%.
- Improved survival of acute non-lymphoblastic leukemia from 35% to 50%.
- Improved survival of the most common form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma from 70% to 90%.
- Improved survival of widespread childhood neuroblastoma from 10% to 45%.
- Reduced by 50% or more the need for radiation therapy for the following groups of patients, thereby reducing risks of long-term effects of radiotherapy:
- acute lymphoblastic leukemia
- infants under 3 years of age with brain tumors, and
- adolescent females with Hodgkins disease.
- Established efficacy of 8 new anti-cancer agents and combinations of such agents for the first time in pediatric cancers.
- Shortened the treatment time for the most common form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and all forms of childhood acute non–lymphoblastic leukemia by 30%-50%.
- Successfully evaluated several agents that reduce the side effects of pediatric cancer treatment (i.e. G-CSF, Dexrazozane).
- Published recommendations for long-term follow up care for all cancers of children and adolescents.
- Established the first broad effort to develop and evaluate treatments for cancers common to adolescents and young adults, and demonstrated the superiority of pediatric treatment protocols over adult treatment protocols for several cancers of young adults.
Enrique Escalon, MD
Director, Division of Hematology/Oncology
NCH Principal Investigator in the COG
* Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, has been a Children's Oncology Group member for the past 20 years. All research protocols are approved by IRB and followed at NCH. These are identical to research protocols followed in other oncology institutes such as Boston, New York, California, Houston and other states.
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