PROJECTS & EVENTS UPDATE: 6th ACCELERATE Paediatric Oncology Conference

The ACCELERATE platform aims to speed up new oncology drug development for children and adolescents with cancer by providing a transparent forum enabling patients and parents organisations, academic paediatric oncologists and haematologists, pharmaceutical companies and EU regulatory network representatives to jointly collaborate and address specific obstacles to develop faster and more effective treatments for children and adolescents with cancer. The 6th ACCELERATE Conference, held on 8-9 February in Brussels, was attended by 134 participants and was a success once again.  The conference highlighted how innovation does not reach children who most need it and that the cure rate must improve.  Lessons have been learned from recent successes in pediatric oncology drug development, such as CAR T-cells, larotrecinib and selumetinib.  The regulatory environment was also discussed including the changes needed such as fostering age inclusive research (FAIR Trials).  Since clinical trials that are ‘adult-only’ hold back young people from getting access to new  treatments, FAIR Trials aim to facilitate age inclusive research and propose the age of entry to be reduced to 12 years in adult early phase studies (where medically justified).  The discussions echoed the need for inclusion of adolescents in adult Phase-I to III trials of cancer drugs targeting a relevant disease or mechanism of action, without requiring preceding specific paediatric trials. For further details on this, please view the Unite2Cure video Calling for FAIR trials: Furthermore, the ACCELERATE article ‘Joint adolescent–adult early phase clinical trials to improve access to new drugs for adolescents with cancer’ was published in Annals of Oncology on 1 March 2018.  The proposals have been defined within a multi-stakeholder working group with a strong consensus including parent/patient advocates from Unite2Cure. This article advocates for the participation of adolescents with relapsed cancer to early clinical trials running in adult patients, in order to access new, effective drugs  without the long delays which have been observed over the last 10 years. The animated exchanges called for the importance of thinking of new ways of developing innovative medicines such as getting new companies, new funding systems, etc.   Many voiced during the discussions that the ACCELERATE platform provides great hope in changing the current outlook and working together with all the relevant stakeholders is in fact the only way forward to bring more effective and innovative therapies for children with cancer.  Change cannot come quickly enough for many children with cancer but the gathering of so many dedicated to changing the existing situation provides great hope. More information: Twitter: #ACCELERATEplatform