Trials boost for child cancer sufferers

Every so often you come across a statistic, a report, a scientific paper that just makes you feel really good. Here's one I spotted today. It's about children who get cancer. Nothing even remotely heart-warming about that.

But in the UK there's a Children's Cancer Study Group and they've published a paper that looks back to see how successful cancer treatment for children has been.

They statistics are astonishing.

In 1978, when the study started, 49% of children with cancer survived for five years or more.

By 2005, that figure had risen to 90%, and manyof these children can be considered "cured".

Why has that happened? Well one reason is that most children's cancers are now being tackled in clinical trials and that makes the latest treatments available pretty quickly.

Image issued by Cancer Research UK of the first interactive model of a key cancer protein created by British scientists Credit: Cancer Research UK/PA Wire

Kathy Pritchard-Jones, Professor of Paediatric Oncology at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, says:

The key message from this study is that clinical trials are good for you if you are a cancer patient. Taking part in clinical trials is considered best practice for most newly diagnosed childhood cancers now. This study shows how the increase in the proportion of children taking part in trials has gone hand in hand with improvements in survival.