Akron Children’s teams with Cincinnati Children’s to offer Phase 1, 2 cancer trials

Akron Children’s teams with Cincinnati Children’s to offer Phase 1, 2 cancer trials

Dr. Sarah Rush is an expert in pediatric brain tumors.


Akron Children’s Hospital is now collaborating with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Advanced Cancer Therapies Network to offer its cancer patients access to phase I and phase 2 clinical trials.

The network brings together clinical research centers to improve the treatment of cancer and other tumor disorders in infants, children and teens; develop alternative therapies; and increase patient access to novel therapies.

Phase 1 trials are conducted with small groups of patients to evaluate safety, appropriate dosages and side effects. As it is unknown whether the treatment will be effective, patients with a variety of diseases are typically enrolled. Phase 1 trials are usually the next step for patients who have failed available treatment and have seen their cancer return.

Until now, Akron Children’s has offered its patients phase 3 clinical trials and a select group of phase 2 trials.

Phase 2 trials target a larger population of patients with specific types of cancer to determine if the new drugs are effective and to further evaluate their safety. 

Phase 3 trials, the ones most children enter when they are newly diagnosed, test the current best treatment against promising alternatives that may increase cure rates or decrease side effects or late effects of treatment. 

The new collaboration has given Akron Children’s patients access to 9 phase 1 and 2 pediatric oncology trials with another 5 more soon to open.

The clinical trials that are currently available include those sponsored by the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), as well as the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium, the National Cancer Institute Pediatric Phase 1 Consortium, the New Approaches to Neuroblastoma Consortium, the Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network, the Neurofibromatosis Clinical Consortium, and other leading pediatric clinical research consortia.

“We are thrilled to be working with Cincinnati Children’s, which is one of the top childhood cancer programs in the country,” said Sarah Rush, MD, a pediatric neuro-oncologist and director of Akron Children’s Brain Tumor Program. “This collaboration will give our patients the best of both worlds – access to just about any pediatric cancer clinical trial in the country, as well as the comfort and convenience of being able to continue their care in their own community and with the medical team they already know.”

Eligible patients will enroll in the oncology clinical trial and receive treatment at Cincinnati Children’s and may return home for certain procedures and follow-up care at Akron Children’s.

“We have learned to never underestimate the positive power of home, family, friends and other support systems in the lives of our patients,” said Dr. Rush.

The collaboration with Cincinnati Children’s comes at a time when Akron Children’s Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders has experienced a steady increase in new patients.

In 2012, the center diagnosed the largest number of children with cancer (96) during a single year in its history, and also recorded an all-time high of 7,864 clinic visits. 

“The expansion of our clinical trial program enhances an already comprehensive approach to childhood cancer treatment,” said Dr. Rush. “We have a bone marrow/stem cell transplant team, a childhood cancer survivor (late effects) program, a translational research program, a pediatric hematology-oncology fellowship program, and numerous community outreach programs.”

The medical staff has also taken a lead role in national quality improvement projects, such as reducing central line infections and delivering intravenous antibiotics to patients at greatest risk for serious infection within an hour of arriving at a clinic, inpatient unit or ER.    

Both Cincinnati Children’s and Akron Children’s are ranked by U.S. News and World Report among the nation’s best pediatric cancer programs, with Cincinnati ranked number one in 2013-14. 

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Collaboration with Cincinnati Children's gives our cancer patients access to more phase 1 trials

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