Historic investment in Nordic paediatric cancer research

Anne Lise Ryel and Bent Høie

Historic investment in Nordic paediatric cancer research

18.12.2018
NordForsk, the Norwegian Cancer Society and the Research Council of Norway have pooled their resources for an historic initiative on paediatric cancer research and will be allocating a total of NOK 30 million for three Nordic projects on personalised cancer treatment for children. With their focus on Nordic cooperation on clinical studies, these projects will help to give children diagnosed with cancer access to the very latest treatment methods. “I’m excited to follow the progress of these projects, ” says Bent Høie, Norwegian Minister of Health and Care Services, “not only because they are strong projects on their own but also because they can help expand Nordic cooperation on clinical research.”

The projects will further enhance the treatment and follow-up of children and young people diagnosed with acute leukaemia, and provide greater opportunities for personalised treatment and participation in clinical studies for children who experience cancer relapse. 

“Nordic cooperation on clinical research and health registries is steadily gaining importance, especially in light of advances in personalised treatment. Promoting high-quality research like this across the Nordic countries yields major benefits for the health services, the business sector and most of all the patients” says Høie. 

“This is a great day and a real boost for Nordic paediatric cancer research,” says Arne Flåøyen, Director of NordForsk. “Childhood cancer is relatively rare, and it is difficult to carry out national clinical studies since the number of children diagnosed with cancer in each Nordic country is low. Lifting research up to the Nordic level provides a larger patient base, which increases the chances of drawing reliable conclusions. At the same time it builds up networks of Nordic expertise that can conduct clinical studies on paediatric cancer. We have high hopes that these projects will lead to beneficial results, and will help to promote the Nordic region as an attractive partner for clinical studies.”

Anne Lise Ryel og Bent Høie Anne Lise Ryel, Secretary General of the Norwegian Cancer Society, points out that personalised treatment is playing an increasingly important role in cancer treatment, helping to raise survival rates and reduce late effects. Most clinical testing of medicines is carried out on adults, and there is an urgent need to personalise cancer treatment for children.

“When treatment is more personalised,” she explains, “the patient groups become smaller. As a result, each Nordic country on its own often has too small a patient base to conduct national trials. So cooperation across national borders is essential.”

“I’m very pleased that all four of the largest Nordic countries are participating in these projects,” adds Jesper W. Simonsen, Executive Director of the Division for Society and Health at the Research Council of Norway, “because this provides a good basis for continued cooperation within this field outside the Nordic region as well.” 

The projects funded under the initiative are:

Nordic ALLSTAR

Project Leader: Thomas Leth Frandsen, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen

NOPHOmatch

Project Leader: Karsten Nysom, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen

ALLTogether - a European treatment protocol for children and young adults with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL)

Project Leader: Mats Heyman, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm

About “Nordic Clinical Trial Projects on Paediatric Cancer Treatment”

The three projects are funded under the call “Nordic Clinical Trial Projects on Paediatric Cancer Treatment”, whose total budget is NOK 38 million. The Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services has contributed NOK 5 million to the Nordic initiative.

Read more about NordForsk's programme on health and welfare

Text: Tor Martin Nilsen

Photo: Magnus Fröderberg/norden.org

Photo of  Anne Lise Ryel and Bent Høie: Ingvild Vaale Arnesen/ the Norwegian Cancer Society

Disclaimer: This information may include errors and omissions. Only decisions communicated directly to the applicants through e-mail should be considered formal confirmations of allocation of funding. All applicants will receive a letter of decision by e-mail.

Maria Nilsson - Special Adviser and Leader of the Health and Welfare Programme
Contact person Maria Nilsson
Special Adviser and Leader of the Health and Welfare Programme
Work +47 993 80 264
Marianne Aastebøl Minge - Chief Operating Officer
Contact person Marianne Aastebøl Minge
Chief Operating Officer
Work +47 936 02 527
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