The Food and Drug Administration recently approved a new cancer treatment for children, Unituxin.
Unituxin treats Neuroblastoma, a type of cancer in the nerve cells. It typically appears in children five years and younger. The survival rate in children with Neuroblastoma is only about 40% to 50%.
This is the third pediatric cancer drug approved in two decades. It may be a major breakthrough of improving long term survival.
Neuroblastoma is considered a rare disease, but it is one of the frequent diseases doctors see at Dell Children’s Blood and Cancer Center in Austin Texas.
Over the past two years, four local children were part of a clinical trial for Unituxin at Dell Children’s Cancer Center.
This particular cancer center was involved in the clinical trials of the new drug because they are part of a national organization called Children’s Oncology Group. Children’s Oncology Group is an international research organization sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.
As a member the cancer center is able to offer the latest state of the art treatments that aren’t available everywhere. Dell Children’s Cancer Center has access to over 70 COG study protocols. These protocols treat not only the most common forms of childhood cancer such as leukemia and brain tumors but also lymphomas, cancers of bone and soft tissue and other rare tumors.
The information researchers garner from these protocols contribute to the continuing improvement in treatment strategies. Patients treated on research protocols have an increased four year disease free survival rate as compared to patients who are neither treated nor receive care at a pediatric cancer center.
Researchers were able to determine that there was a significant survival advantage for the children who received this particular drug.
Now children across the country will also have access to this new treatment.