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  • 1
    Abstract: An urgent need remains for new paediatric oncology drugs to cure children who die from cancer and to reduce drug-related sequelae in survivors. In 2007, the European Paediatric Regulation came into law requiring industry to create paediatric drug (all types of medicinal products) development programmes alongside those for adults. Unfortunately, paediatric drug development is still largely centred on adult conditions and not a mechanism of action (MoA)-based model, even though this would be more logical for childhood tumours as these have much fewer non-synonymous coding mutations than adult malignancies. Recent large-scale sequencing by International Genome Consortium and Paediatric Cancer Genome Project has further shown that the genetic and epigenetic repertoire of driver mutations in specific childhood malignancies differs from more common adult-type malignancies. To bring about much needed change, a Paediatric Platform, ACCELERATE, was proposed in 2013 by the Cancer Drug Development Forum, Innovative Therapies for Children with Cancer, the European Network for Cancer Research in Children and Adolescents and the European Society for Paediatric Oncology. The Platform, comprising multiple stakeholders in paediatric oncology, has three working groups, one with responsibility for promoting and developing high-quality MoA-informed paediatric drug development programmes, including specific measures for adolescents. Key is the establishment of a freely accessible aggregated database of paediatric biological tumour drug targets to be aligned with an aggregated pipeline of drugs. This will enable prioritisation and conduct of early phase clinical paediatric trials to evaluate these drugs against promising therapeutic targets and to generate clinical paediatric efficacy and safety data in an accelerated time frame. Through this work, the Platform seeks to ensure that potentially effective drugs, where the MoA is known and thought to be relevant to paediatric malignancies, are evaluated in early phase clinical trials, and that this approach to generate pre-clinical and clinical data is systematically pursued by academia, sponsors, industry, and regulatory bodies to bring new paediatric oncology drugs to front-line therapy more rapidly.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 27258969
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  • 2
    Abstract: New drugs are crucially needed for children with cancer. The European Paediatric Regulation facilitates paediatric class waivers for drugs developed for diseases only occurring in adults. In this Review, we retrospectively searched oncology drugs that were class waivered between June, 2012, and June, 2015. 147 oncology class waivers were confirmed for 89 drugs. Mechanisms of action were then assessed as potential paediatric therapeutic targets by both a literature search and an expert review. 48 (54%) of the 89 class-waivered drugs had a mechanisms of action warranting paediatric development. Two (2%) class-waivered drugs were considered not relevant and 16 (18%) required further data. In light of these results, we propose five initiatives: an aggregated database of paediatric biological tumour drug targets; molecular profiling of all paediatric tumours at diagnosis and relapse; a joint academic-pharmaceutical industry preclinical platform to help analyse the activity of new drugs (Innovative Therapy for Children with Cancer Paediatric Preclinical Proof-of-Concept Platform); paediatric strategy forums; and the suppression of article 11b of the European Paediatric Regulation, which allows product-specific waivers on the grounds that the associated condition does not occur in children. These initiatives and a mechanism of action-based approach to drug development will accelerate the delivery of new therapeutic drugs for front-line therapy for those children who have unmet medical needs.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28677575
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  • 3
    Abstract: In the past decade, the landscape of drug development in oncology has evolved dramatically; however, this paradigm shift remains to be adopted in early phase clinical trial designs for studies of molecularly targeted agents and immunotherapeutic agents in paediatric malignancies. In drug development, prioritization of drugs on the basis of knowledge of tumour biology, molecular 'drivers' of disease and a drug's mechanism of action, and therapeutic unmet needs are key elements; these aspects are relevant to early phase paediatric trials, in which molecular profiling is strongly encouraged. Herein, we describe the strategy of the Innovative Therapies for Children with Cancer (ITCC) Consortium, which advocates for the adoption of trial designs that enable uninterrupted patient recruitment, the extrapolation from studies in adults when possible, and the inclusion of expansion cohorts. If a drug has neither serious dose-related toxicities nor a narrow therapeutic index, then studies should generally be started at the adult recommended phase II dose corrected for body surface area, and act as dose-confirmation studies. The use of adaptive trial designs will enable drugs with promising activity to progress rapidly to randomized studies and, therefore, will substantially accelerate drug development for children and adolescents with cancer.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28508875
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