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RMCH doctor is UK Chief Investigator for international trial into treatments for children’s leukaemia

RMCH Royal Manchester Children's Hospital doctor who is the UK Chief Investigator for an international trial into treatments for childhood leukaemia, has randomised the first UK recruit onto the study.

Consultant Paediatric Haematologist, Dr Denise Bonney will compare the two best available treatment options for children with standard risk relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).

Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is the UK sponsor for the study, in conjunction with The University of ManchesterCharité in Berlin and The University of Berlin. It is supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network and 20 countries are set to take part, including across Europe and in Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Though the survival rate of children with ALL has improved in recent years, around 10% of patients will relapse and this remains a leading cause of death in childhood cancer. Given the rarity of the disease, only a large international cooperative group can recruit sufficient patients for further studies with specific questions in biologic subgroups.

An initiative by experts from the International BFM study group (I-BFM SG), funded by the EU FP7 framework, led to the creation of the International Study for Treatment of Childhood Relapsed ALL (IntReALL) group.  The aim of the group is to establish a comprehensive platform for diagnostics and treatment of childhood relapsed ALL in Europe and beyond.

The first clinical trial from the project will compare the two best available treatment options for young patients; the ALL R3 which is standard treatment in UK, and REZ BFM 2000 (standard treatment in Europe), to find out which is the best.

Dr Bonney said: "We will be asking the parents of all children with standard risk relapsed ALL if they are willing to take part in this study. The more patients that take part, the more information we can gather to help us to improve the treatment of children with relapsed leukaemia.  Studies such as this are an essential part of improving treatment, and success to date is based on children being involved in previous studies.

"This research has been reviewed  by the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI),   Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Clinical Studies Group and Leukaemia Subgroup and has been approved by the  Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) and the National Research Ethics Committee (NRES)."