March 15, 2015

New Drug Approved for Children with High-Risk Neuroblastoma

On March 10, 2015, the FDA approved dinutuximab (ch14.18, Unituxin) as part of treatment for children with high-risk neuroblastoma. The approval was based on the results of two major Children’s Oncology Group (COG) research trials and culminates a remarkable collaborative research effort that spanned more than two decades of research. The new drug is an antibody directed against a protein that is found on neuroblastoma cells. The antibody can be used in addition to other forms of treatment (chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery) for children with high-risk neuroblastoma.

This advance would not have been possible were it not for the willingness of the children we care for and their families to participate in the Children’s Oncology Group’s research efforts. We are thus grateful to the many children and families who helped make this advance possible. Although FDA approval of a first in children new treatment is an important step forward, we recognize that even with the addition of dinutuximab to our treatment efforts, we still have a long road ahead to improve the outcome and quality of life for children with neuroblastoma and other childhood cancers.

Peter C. Adamson, MD

Chair, Children’s Oncology Group