10,000 Paces towards new treatments

Through the generosity of participants and their supporters, as well as some amazing donors, Childcan’s annual walk/run, 10,000 Paces for 10,000 Faces, has raised sufficient funds to support the Paediatric Oncology Research Unit at Children’s Hospital, LHSC, for the past few years. Over the past year, incredible work has been done, as outlined below in this update from the Dr. Alexandra Zorzi.

The support we have received from Childcan has made a lot of things possible. We have hired a full time clinical research assistant (CRA) with the funds provided. As a result we have made a lot of progress in broadening the scope of research and clinical trials we offer here at Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre. I cannot emphasize enough that this research would NOT be possible without the support of Childcan and the CRA that it funds.

TOPAZ: Phase I enrichment study of low dose metronomic topotecan and pazopanib in paediatric patients with recurrent or refractory solid tumours. OPEN. This is the first early phase trial to EVER open in London! We have screened three patients for the study, and are hoping to have our first patient enrolled this fall.

Avelumab: Open label phase I/II study to evaluate pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, safety and anticancer activity of Avelumab in paediatric subjects from birth to less than 18 years of age with refractory or relapsed solid tumours and lymphoma. SET TO OPEN. This was recently approved by our ethics board and we are having our site initiation visit September 4th. We are the second centre in Canada and FIRST in Ontario to open this trial. There is no other access to this type of treatment in Canada for paediatric patients!

PROFYLE: Precision oncology for young people. This is a national tumour sequencing initiative to better characterize a child’s tumour and identify its unique fingerprint. We hope to use this information to identify possible specific medications/treatment options for a patient’s tumour, use the information to follow the tumour’s response, gain information about the patient’s prognosis and understand the cause of the child’s cancer. We have enrolled 12 patients. For some, the research result has impacted therapy and/or they have been offered treatment that would not have been offered without the results.

Pharmacogenomic Predictors of Drug Response in Paediatric Oncology. This project aims to understand the patient’s genetics and drug response and/or toxicity they experience to a drug. To date, we have enrolled 100 patients on the main study. We have recently opened a subsidy of this project to look at a specific drug used in acute lymphoblastic leukemia and enrolled 30 patients onto that as well. We are hoping to have a publication out by the new year on this.

Pharmacometabolomics of Kidney Injury in Paediatric Patients: This project is looking to understand kidney injury caused by chemotherapy and identify markers in the patient’s urine that may predict which patients are at most risk. We have collaborated with other centres in Canada on this and are hoping to have some pilot data ready for publication this fall.

By funding this position, Childcan is also helping other medium to small sites in Canada that treat paediatric cancer. For PROFYLE specifically, there is very limited funding for sites that aren’t doing the sequencing, meaning that if another centre wants to open the study they must add it to the pile of other work that the research unit is doing. By combining a few of our studies, we created a new CRA position in our research unit which Childcan funds. With this outside funding from Childcan, the amount of money PROFYLE had allocated for our site was able to go to another site to help their patients.

On the horizon for clinical trials is CAPTUR paediatrics, the Canadian Profiling and Targeted Agent Utilization Trial. This study is the drug trial that accompanies PROFYLE which will match a targeted therapy drug to the specific abnormal gene found in the patient’s cancer. Efforts are being made to have London named as a site!