Our main objective is to leverage the resources and structure provided by the NCTN Program to develop a Solid Malignancies Integrated Translational Science Center (SM-ITSC) to support Children's Oncology Group (COG) clinical trials for children with solid tumors. , The COG formed in 2000 as the major, NCI-sponsored clinical trials group for children with cancer in North America. The COG has made substantial progress improving the outlook for children with every major type of cancer. Much of the success can be attributed to the effectiveness of its clinical and translational research. However, to fully realize our goal of eradicating the problem of childhood cancer, our approaches to further integrate translation science into the clinical research fabric must evolve. First, because of the fundamental differences between the biology and clinical problems posed by hematologic and solid malignancies, the translational research efforts within COG must be supported by two distinct ITSCs;hence, the need for the SM-ITSC. Second, an operational framework within the SM-ITSC must be established to effectively bring together translational scientists from different, solid malignancy Disease Committees. These individuals will tackle the problems in molecular classification, early response assessment, and molecularly targeted therapy that extend across the Committees. The synergy will enhance our capacity to bring the potential of the genomics revolution to the clinic to directly improve the care we provide to children with solid tumors. Further, this broader team of translational researchers will allow us to conduct meaningful translational pilot studies as a mechanism to efficiently incorporate the most promising emerging scientific insight into the clinical research mission of COG. Accomplishing our two specific aims - to establish the SM- ITSC and to conduct the first in a series of Translational Pilot Studies for children with solid tumors - will represent a significant step towards transforming the care of children with cancer.
Although certain forms of childhood cancer are commonly cured, the outlook for many children with the most aggressive cancers has not improved in over 30 years. It is hoped that recent scientific advances allowing all of the genes in a cancer cell to be studied will help clinicians employ new drugs that are more effectively targeted to the cancer cells in an individual child. Establishing a Solid Malignancy ITSC for children will allow us to translate these basic science discoveries to the clinic to children with the most aggressive cancers.