Doctors are working to learn more about neuroblastoma, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people 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 diagnostic and treatment options best for your child.
Many of the items below are explained earlier in the Treatment section. Studies are underway to improve their use and effectiveness.
New drug combinations. Clinical trials are underway to study the use of a drug called topotecan in combination with cyclophosphamide. Researchers hope that this drug combination will increase the effectiveness and decrease the side effects of initial treatment.
Bone marrow/stem cell transplantation. A clinical trial is underway comparing two cycles of high-dose chemotherapy to one cycle of high-dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation.
New radiation therapy techniques. A radioactive MIBG delivers radiation therapy to neuroblastoma cells for recurrent or refractory disease, with or without bone marrow/stem cell transplantation. By using a high-energy form of radioactive iodine with the MIBG, enough radiation therapy is given off to kill the neuroblastoma cells. This technique is currently used in the United States. Clinical trials involving radioactive MIBG are ongoing.
Other treatment options. Research on the use of small molecules to target the cell functions that are abnormal in neuroblastoma cells are ongoing. Drugs that inhibit ALK, a tyrosine kinase that is mutated in some types of neuroblastoma, and other tyrosine kinase inhibitors are being tested in some patients with familial neuroblastoma (see Risk Factors).
Supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current neuroblastoma treatments in order to improve patients’ comfort and quality of life.
Learn more about common statistical terms used in cancer research.
Looking for More about Current Research?
If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding childhood cancers, explore these related items:
- To find clinical trials specific to your child’s diagnosis, talk with your child’s doctor or search online clinical trial databases now.
- Review research announced at recent scientific meetings or in ASCO’s peer-reviewed journals.
- Visit ASCO’s CancerProgress.Net website to learn more about the historical pace of research for childhood cancers.
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