Most children with cancer receive treatment by taking part in research studies called clinical trials.
Seattle Children’s is a leader in pediatric cancer research, including clinical trials of novel therapies — new drugs or other new treatment approaches that are available only to patients in studies.
Among all pediatric oncology centers in the nation, we are among the top five, year after year, for patient enrollment in clinical trials. We are a member of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and partners with Fred Hutch.
Seattle Children’s is also home to the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research, which is developing immunotherapies – treatments that use the immune system to defeat cancer. We are offering clinical trials of T-cell therapy for leukemia and neuroblastoma.
You can search by diagnosis for many clinical trials available through Seattle Children’s and its partners on Fred Hutch’s clinical trials page.
Seattle Children’s offers clinical trials for children with many kinds and stages of cancer, including:
Our researchers conduct:
Besides testing treatments, our physician-scientists conduct studies to:
We are among a small group of institutions that take part in all of these national networks for research on cancer in children:
To contact Seattle Children’s about taking part in a cancer clinical trial:
Our team can also consult with your doctor or provide a second opinion.
Families may contact us without a doctor’s referral. It’s helpful if we can also speak with your child’s doctor, if your child is not already a patient here. This is even more helpful if your child’s cancer has come back after treatment. The doctor can often give our team details that matter for finding a clinical trial that matches your child’s needs.
To give permission for your doctor or hospital and Seattle Children’s to exchange information about your child’s health:
If your child is a patient at Seattle Children’s and we have a study that matches your child’s situation, your child’s doctor will let you know. Then you and your child can choose whether to take part. We have clinical trials for a wide range of newly diagnosed and relapsed cancers. Please contact us with questions at 206-987-2106 or, toll-free, 866-987-2000.
Each study has a list of traits that people must have in order to join. These are called eligibility criteria. Children and families who match the criteria for a study may be offered the option to take part. No one is enrolled automatically.
It’s important to know about and consider all your child’s treatment options. Your child’s team at Seattle Children’s is here to help guide you and answer questions as you decide about taking part in research. We will spend as much time as you like talking about the options, including the treatments your child might get as part of a study and the options for your child outside of a study. We will also give you written material about any study you are considering. Your child’s doctor and other caregivers at Seattle Children’s are good resources if you have questions.
Some eligible families decide to take part, and others do not. Even after you begin a study, you can leave it at any time. If you decide not to take part, we will still provide the best care available for your child.
For more thoughts about deciding, read Dr. Abby Rosenberg’s blog post, Clinical Trials: What Would You Do If It Were Your Child?
The answer depends on the study.
In a phase III trial, neither you nor the research team will decide which treatment your child gets; your child will be randomly assigned to one group or the other by a computer program. Researchers do this type of study when they have reason to think the experimental therapy may be at least as safe and effective as the standard. But there is no guarantee — they are doing the study in order to find out.
We have worked with many families from around the country and the world, and have in place many services to help support you if you are coming from elsewhere. These include:
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