Children’s Hospital Colorado preparing 25 new cancer trials after “breakthrough” law signed
Doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado are hoping to launch as many as 25 new clinical trials in the next six months following a recently signed federal law opened the floodgates to test experimental cancer drugs for children.
“The paediatric oncology community is really excited,” said Dr. Lia Gore, the director of Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.
While there are hundreds of cancer drugs in development to treat adults, research on paediatric cancer drugs has historically lagged. Gore said essentially only four new drugs have been approved to treat childhood cancer since 1979.
But the RACE for Children Act, signed this month by President Donald Trump, aims to change that by allowing clinical trials in children when there is evidence that a drug being developed for adults could help them, too.
Gore gave the example of an adult drug designated specifically for lung cancer. Previously, the drug couldn’t be tested for children because children so rarely get lung cancer — even though the drug also holds promise for treating a completely different childhood cancer. The new law will allow clinical trials for children based on the “molecular target” of the drug, not the name of the cancer.
The bill was sponsored by Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, who attended a celebration of the bill’s signing along with the new FDA Commissioner, Scott Gottlieb. Sen. Cory Gardner, who was among the bill’s co-sponsors.
Bennet called the bill “a breakthrough for kids fighting cancer,” while Gottlieb expressed equal optimism.
“We have a lot of opportunity ahead of us,” he said.