Research and Clinical Trials

Seattle Children’s is internationally known for developing better ways to care for young people with cancers or blood disorders. Many of the doctors who will care for your child are leaders in research to transform treatment and improve outcomes. The knowledge we gain through research influences the care we give all children.

Clinical Trials at Seattle Children’s

Clinical trials are research studies that test whether a new medicine, device or treatment is safe and effective. Children with cancer and blood disorders come to Seattle Children's from all over the world to take part in research studies of new options that are available only through clinical trials.

The children and young adults we treat have access to clinical trials offered through our:

Year after year, Seattle Children’s is among the 5 childhood cancer centers in the nation with the most patients enrolled in clinical trials.

  • To learn about clinical trials at Seattle Children’s:

  • Our physician-scientists do studies to:

    • Better understand how different diseases start, develop and progress
    • Test new treatments or combinations of treatments
    • Learn who’s at risk for cancer and blood disorders
    • Find the best supportive therapies
    • Reduce side effects of therapy and the long-term effects of cancer and its treatment

    Seattle Children’s conducts phase 1, 2 and 3 clinical trials for children and young adults with many kinds and stages of cancer or blood disorders, including those who: 

    • Have just been diagnosed
    • Are already in treatment
    • Have cancer that has returned

    Improving quality of life during and after treatment

  • Our physician-scientists work with experts across the globe to create new treatment options and test them in early studies, called phase 1 clinical trials. We develop and offer early-stage clinical trials through our membership in:

    • The Phase 1 and Pilot Consortium of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG). Seattle Children’s and 20 other childhood cancer programs in the United States were selected through a peer review process. The physician-scientists do lab research and study new treatments to find more effective therapies with fewer side effects.
    • New Approaches to Neuroblastoma Therapy (NANT). Seattle Children’s doctors are leaders within NANT. We are the only center in the Pacific Northwest that belongs to it. NANT works to find new therapies for patients with neuroblastoma that is not well controlled by treatment (refractory) or that comes back (relapsed). The goal is to cure more children with advanced neuroblastoma with fewer side effects.
    • Therapeutic Advances in Childhood Leukemia (TACL). This group of children’s hospitals and universities develops phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials for recurrent childhood leukemia and lymphoma. TACL combines lab research with early-phase clinical trials to speed the progress of developing new therapies for children.
    • Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC). This network of 15 children’s hospitals studies and tests new therapies for children with brain tumors. PNOC tests new therapies that are specific to the biology of each patient’s tumor. The goal is to improve cure rates and reduce side effects of treatment for children.

Why Research Leadership Matters

Raising the standard of care

Our doctors lead clinical trials that are changing the standard of care, improving the outlook for children with cancer and reducing side effects of treatment. 

  • In April 2017, Seattle Children’s published in Blood that 40 of 43 patients achieved initial remission during the phase 1 PLAT-02 clinical trial studying immunotherapy to treat relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). This is a 93% remission rate. Of the children who achieved initial remission, about 50% were still in remission 1 year after therapy. Some have been in remission for more than 3 years. Learn more about immunotherapy at Seattle Children’s.
  • Treatment for children with high-risk neuroblastoma changed across North America because of a COG trial led by Dr. Julie Park. The research study found that 73% of children who received a double transplant and drug-based immunotherapy were alive and cancer-free 3 years later compared to 55% who received a single transplant. Read about the study.
  • A COG study led by Dr. Doug Hawkins identified a therapy that was as effective as standard treatment for rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), but with fewer harmful side effects. The new treatment was so successful it led to a call for a new standard of care for RMS. Read more.

Influencing the worldwide agenda for childhood cancer research

Through their leadership in the Children’s Oncology Group, our experts help set the global agenda for pediatric cancer research.

Lab Research at Seattle Children’s

Discoveries in the lab help us understand how disease starts and develops. Lab research is also called bench research or basic research. It doesn’t involve patients directly, but it lays the groundwork for new treatments.

Ways to Help

Donations from people like you help researchers pursue ideas that could lead to lifesaving treatments for kids with cancer.

Email us to learn more. Or you can donate today and designate the area you’d like to support.