Renown Children’s Hospital announced this month it is now a member of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), the world’s largest organization devoted exclusively to childhood cancer.
COG membership allows Renown “to enroll its youngest patients in the latest clinical trials, including ground-breaking treatments for many childhood cancers, studies to better understand these diseases, and trials focused around supportive care and survivorship,” according to a Jan. 5 press release.
As one example, some trials employ immunotherapeutic drugs in addition to conventional chemotherapy, in hopes adding the immunotherapy results in better health outcomes for pediatric cancer patients, according to Renown.
“As a pediatric intensivist by training, I understand how quickly advancements are made in pediatric medicine,” Dr. Tony Slonim, president and CEO of Renown Health, said in a statement. “As a member of the COG, pediatric oncology patients of Renown Children’s Hospital now have access to the latest and most cutting-edge treatment options in addition to commonly prescribed treatments.
“I am proud of the highly-skilled caregivers at Renown who are constantly expanding their knowledge and contributing research to give our pediatric patients and their families hope for the future.”
According to COG, more than 90 percent of 14,000 U.S. children and adolescents diagnosed with cancer annually are cared for at COG member institutions.
As a COG member institution, Renown joins over 200 institutions, including Stanford, UCSF and Kaiser Permanente. COG is made up of more than 9,000 experts worldwide and has nearly 100 active clinical-translational trials running at once.
“Until now, we have been able to offer treatments at Renown based on the current standard of care, which means the treatment is based on published trial results that may not reflect the latest research in the field,” Renown’s Chief of Hematology/Oncology, Dr. J. Martin Johnston, said in a statement. “Previously, a pediatric oncology patient could only enroll in a COG trial if the family had the capacity to temporarily relocate to the Bay Area or Salt Lake City, for example. Now, our patients will have the opportunity to enroll in these trials without the need to travel so far from home.”
“We are also grateful to the William N. Pennington Foundation for its support in establishing the William N. Pennington Fund for Advance Pediatric Care in 2016, which allowed us to hire more than 15 specialized pediatricians, including in oncology/hematology, which was crucial to our application for COG membership,” added Max Coppes, Cancer Center Director at Renown Institute for Cancer.