Press release


World's Largest Study on the Most Common Cancer in Children

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Charité and project partners research optimal therapy for leukemia relapses

Under an EU project now launched, CharitéUniversitätsmedizin Berlin is coordinating the largest study in the world concerned with the fight against the most common type of cancer in children, acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Within the scope of the IntReALL project (Study for Children with Relapsed ALL) relapses (recurrences) are being researched in cases where ALL has already been treated, so that more young patients can be permanently cured. ALL relapse is the most common cause of death among children suffering from cancer. While for new cases of this type of leukemia the chances of survival have risen considerably over the past three decades, the outlook for young patients with a relapse is far worse.

The aim of IntReALL is to develop an optimized, internationally valid standard therapy for children with ALL relapse. Based on this best possible standard therapy the researchers plan to test a series of new substances with regard to their efficacy in this group of patients. "We are convinced that with this approach we will also be able to considerably reduce the death rate for children with relapse," says study coordinator Dr. Arend von Stackelberg, who is in charge of Pediatric Oncology / Hematology at Campus Virchow-Klinikum: "For the first time, a large number of clinics involved offers an opportunity to substantiate therapy progress with evidence-based methods."

In Germany, acute lymphoblastic leukemia affects about 500 children and young persons a year, of whom about 70 on average suffer a relapse. The fact that ALL is so rare makes it more difficult to conduct comprehensive studies. This is where the international large-scale project, IntReALL, begins: A total of 23 mainly European partners – including clinics and companies – will be cooperating in the development of an optimized standard therapy, coordinated by Charité. They include Hannover Medical School, the University of Zurich and the Austrian St. Anna Children's Cancer Research Institute, but also the Stockholm Karolinska Institute and Oxford University. The EU Commission is sponsoring the 5-year project within the scope of the 7th Research Framework Program with around six million euros, under the title: IntReALL – International study for treatment of childhood relapsed ALL 2010 with standard therapy, systematic integration of new agents, and establishment of standardized diagnostic and research (HEALTH-F2-2011-278514).


Dr. Arend von Stackelberg
Leiter Pädiatrische Onkologie / Hämatologie
Klinik für Pädiatrie mit Schwerpunkt Onkologie und Hämatologie
Campus Virchow-Klinikum
t: +49 30 450 666 833

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