01/07/2018
Australian and New Zealand Children’s Haematology/Oncology Group (ANZCHOG) is pleased to announce that the latest European trial for Ewing sarcoma is now available for children in Australia, opened with the generous support of The Kids’ Cancer Project.
Ewing sarcoma is a cancer of the bone or soft tissue and occurs most frequently in children and young adults. Children diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma have a long-term survival rate of approximately 60 per cent. However, a sub-set of children do not respond at all to standard treatment (primary refractory) or relapse after receiving their initial treatment. Sadly, this group of children have a very poor chance of survival.
 
rEECur is an international randomised controlled trial comparing combinations of chemotherapies for the treatment of relapsed and primary refractory Ewing sarcoma, developed by the European EuroEwing Consortium (EEC), through University of Birmingham, the international study sponsor. A number of different chemotherapy agents are currently used to treat these patients. rEECur is the first study to directly compare the efficacy and toxicity of treatments in a randomised, controlled study to determine which chemotherapy regimen provides the best outcomes for children diagnosed with relapsed or refractory primary Ewing sarcoma.
 
“Despite our best efforts, in the last 25 years we have made little progress in improving survival for this group of children,” said rEECur national Principal Investigator, Associate Professor Marianne Phillips from Princess Margaret Hospital for Children.
 
“We need to know which treatment is going to give them the best outcome. The results from this trial will provide the important evidence needed to guide our treatment choices,” she said.
 
Funding from The Kids’ Cancer Project has enabled ANZCHOG to undertake a range of essential start-up activities for rEECur on behalf of the Australian and New Zealand children’s cancer centres, including liaising with the international trial groups, contract development and review, adapting trial documents to meet Australasian requirements, ethics and governance submissions, and development of high-quality regulatory and monitoring plans.
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Importantly, the on-going support from The Kids’ Cancer Project is enabling ANZCHOG to effectively undertake similar start-up activities across a range of forthcoming international trials for other children’s cancer diagnoses.
 
ANZCHOG’s Chair, Dr Chris Fraser, acknowledged the significant impact of The Kids’ Cancer Project support.
 
“Running clinical trials for children with cancer is an expensive undertaking,” Dr Fraser said. “Funding from The Kids’ Cancer Project enables ANZCHOG to undertake the immense amount of work involved in opening a clinical trial.”
 
“Aided by the support of the Kids’ Cancer Project, ANZCHOG is able to provide a centralised, national resource to facilitate faster access to cutting edge international trials in all the children’s cancer centres around the country,” he said.
 
The charity expressed pride and gratification in being able to collaborate with the group.
 
“We are delighted to partner with ANZCHOG to enable Australian and New Zealand children access to the latest international trials,” said Owen Finegan, CEO of The Kids’ Cancer Project.
 
“The large amount of liaison, legal, regulatory and governance work for every single trial is frequently under-recognised by funders,” he said.
 
“We believe that supporting ANZCHOG to provide a high quality, centralised resource for trial initiation activities is an effective use of funds, enabling The Kids’ Cancer Project donors to make a valuable difference to children diagnosed with cancer across a range of tumour types,” said Mr Finegan.  
 
The first site to open rEECur is Perth Children’s Hospital in Western Australia. Children’s cancer centres across Australia and New Zealand will be opening the trial in the coming months. As Ewing sarcoma also occurs in young adults, ANZCHOG is working with the Australian Sarcoma Study Group (ASSG) to open the trial in selected adult cancer centres, maximising the opportunity for Australian and New Zealand cancer patients to participate in the rEECur trial.

For more information about the rEECur trial, contact ANZCHOG.
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