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Experimental Therapeutics Program

Read a parent's letter
The Experimental Therapeutics Program at Children’s National Medical Center is fighting to increase the number of children who win the battle against cancer.

The program offers patients new experimental cancer treatments that have the promise to positively affect long-term outcomes. Fully engaged in the war against childhood cancer, the program identifies and tests new cytotoxic, biologic, and immunotherapeutic agents (anticancer drugs).

Dedicated to Advancing Care for Kids  

Children’s National has a long history of researching pediatric cancer developmental therapeutics and leading anticancer drug development, including chairing national clinical trials.

Since 2001, the program has been a member of the select Children’s Oncology Group (COG) Developmental Therapeutics Consortium (DVLC) and is one of only 21 sites in North America selected for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium. Both organizations develop new Phase I and Phase II therapies for children and adolescents with tumors resistant to standard chemotherapy. Additionally, Children's National is a Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network (CERN) Center, conducting clinical trials under Private Investigator Eugene Hwang.

The program’s nursing staff and research assistants participated in specialized training to perform the protocols and monitoring of patients in clinical trials with an emphasis on caring for the sensitive needs of young patients and their families.

Phase I Clinical Trials
Clinical trials evaluate the biology and safety of novel therapeutic agents (medications) or medical devices. Phase I Clinical Trials are the most basic type of study, and investigators test drugs to evaluate their maximum tolerated dosage and examine their safety profile. 

All studies are subject to rigorous quality control and monitoring to ensure the identification of safe, effective doses for timely incorporation into wider scale pediatric clinical trials.

To learn more about current studies, you may search the database of clinical trials offered through Children’s Research Institute, the academic arm of Children’s National Medical Center, or speak with a member of your child’s care team.  

Support for Families
What sets Children’s National apart is our commitment to the entire family. For the families of patients, Children’s National offers a dedicated Concierge Service that provides information about the local area, such as where to find restaurants, the post office, grocery stores, and pharmacies.

Through the dedicated resources of the Division of Oncology, the Experimental Therapeutics Program assists families of limited means with the cost of hospital parking, cafeteria meals, and long distance telephone cards.

To lessen the logistical difficulties of a hospital stay, patients and families who live more than 25 miles from the hospital are eligible to stay at the local Ronald McDonald House, located just minutes from the hospital. Each patient is connected with a program social worker, who can help families find temporary housing.

As well, the Patient and Family Support Program provides comprehensive mental health and psychosocial services, among other useful resources for patients of the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, their parents and siblings.

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