Who We Are
The Children’s Oncology Group (COG), a National Cancer Institute-supported member group of the National Clinical Trials Network, is the world’s largest, cooperative children’s cancer research entity. With over 10,000 members, it brings together physicians, laboratory scientists, nurses, psychologists and others working to beat cancer in children, adolescents and young adults at more than 200 leading children’s hospitals, universities, and cancer centers across North America, Australia, and New Zealand. Through collaborative research, the Children’s Oncology Group has improved rates for children’s cancer at a pace much faster than any one individual or single institution could accomplish alone. The Children’s Oncology Group research has turned children’s cancer from a virtually incurable disease 50 years ago to one with a combined 5-year survival rate of 80 percent today.
Despite major advancements in recent years, much work remains to find treatments and cures for children’s cancer. Cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease in children and two-thirds of patients have life-altering and life-threatening side effects from the currently available treatments. Children’s Oncology Group research efforts are focused on many types of cancer including those that are hardest to treat, as well as reducing complications that result from treatment. Our goal is to cure all children and adolescents with cancer, reduce the short and long-term complications of cancer treatments, and determine the causes and find ways to prevent childhood cancer.
The Children's Oncology Group is chaired by Douglas S. Hawkins, MD, Seattle Children's Research Institute. Lia Gore, MD, Children's Hospital Colorado, Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders, is vice chair of the Children's Oncology Group.
What We Do
Children’s Oncology Group:
- designs and conducts about 100 clinical trials annually to find the best treatments for children and adolescents with cancer;
- conducts laboratory research that will translate into more effective treatments with reduced side effects;
- looks for the causes of childhood cancer with the goal of one day preventing cancer;
- conducts research to improve quality of life and survivorship; and
- seeks international partnerships, when necessary, to fulfill its mission.
The cooperative group system for clinical research began in 1955 with a consortium focused on childhood cancer research. By the end of the 1990s there were nine groups funded by the NCI to conduct research in adults with cancer, and four cooperative groups funded focused on childhood cancer research. Two groups, the Children's Cancer Group (CCG) and the Pediatric Oncology Group (POG) studied a diverse array of childhood cancers, while two groups, the Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study Group (IRSG), and the National Wilms’ Tumor Study Group (NWTS) were cancer specific. In the year 2000 the four pediatric groups voluntarily merged efforts to create the Children’s Oncology Group.
Why is Collaborative Research Important?
While 16,000 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer each year, there are many different kinds of children’s cancer. When divided into the specific cancer types, the number of children with each is relatively small. In research, large numbers of patients are critical to ensuring that study results are meaningful. By enrolling patients from many hospitals in the same trial, the results become statistically significant. This approach is called collaborative research and is how the Children’s Oncology Group functions.
Children’s Oncology Group hospitals treat 90 percent of children with cancer in the United States, providing the unmatched combination of global expertise and local care. This means that every child and care team has complete access to the latest research and world-class treatments at hospitals within close to home.