Childhood Cancer: Latest Research

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 04/2017

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done now to learn more about this type of cancer and how to treat it. Use the menu to see other pages.

Doctors are working to learn more about childhood cancer, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to children diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your child’s doctor about the best diagnostic and treatment options for your child.

  • Advances in treatment and follow-up care. The Children’s Oncology Group conducts large clinical trials for most types of pediatric cancer. It also conducts studies on quality of life and late effects of cancer after successful treatment.

    The Childhood Cancer Survivor Study conducts long-term, follow-up studies of people who were treated many years ago to determine the late effects of childhood cancer and its treatment, so new treatments can be developed to avoid serious side effects.

    Other groups, including the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium and the New Approaches to Neuroblastoma Therapy Consortium, perform studies of new drugs for specific types of cancer. These groups are sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. The National Institute of Health clinical center has pediatric clinical trials for children with cancer.

  • Reducing a child’s exposure to radiation. To reduce exposure to radiation therapy, doctors may use chemotherapy with a combination of drugs after surgery or use new drug combinations. Researchers are also investigating new techniques such as proton therapy that more precisely focus radiation treatment at the tumor and not the surrounding healthy tissue.

  • Palliative care and survivorship care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing other symptoms and side effects of current childhood cancer treatments in order to improve patients’ comfort and quality of life during treatment and into adulthood. For example, drugs called filgrastim (Neupogen) and pegfilgrastim (Neulasta) may help patients produce more white blood cells after radiation treatment and chemotherapy.

    Doctors are also studying chemoprotective drugs that may help protect the body from the harmful effects of chemotherapy, especially mucositis (mouth sores). Additionally, this area of research includes studies in cardioprotection (protecting the heart and cardiovascular system from chemotherapy) and otoprotection (protecting against damage to the ear).

Looking for More About Latest Research?

If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding childhood cancer, explore these related items that take you outside of this guide:

The next section in this guide is Coping with Treatment and it offers some guidance in how to cope with the physical, emotional, and social changes that cancer and its treatment can bring. You may use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.