The Pediatric Oncology and Hematology Competence Network (KPOH) is a joint research venture comprising pediatric oncologists, hematologists, scientists, children’s hospitals and special children’s cancer centers. They aim to constantly improve the diagnosis and treatment of children and adolescents with cancer. The network was initiated by the Society of Pediatric Oncology and Hematology (GPOH), which has been instrumental in raising the quality of clinical trials in this field to the current state-of-the-art.
The network’s general aim is to attain "more knowledge, an improved understanding and a better tailored treatment" of cancer in children and young adults on the basis of the established medical standards and results in pediatric oncology. Three decades of cooperative trials and studies on the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in Germany are counter-evidence to the general notion that "leukemia is not treatable", which dates back to 1972. Today, three out of four children with cancer are cured and the majority of them can go on to lead a normal life. Even though only 2000 children and adolescents are newly affected on average each year in Germany, it would not be possible for a single center to provide the information required and the potential for advancement made available through this coordinated network.
At present, the research network is involved in all major aspects of the tasks at hand, through its work on infrastructural, basic science and clinical research projects. The network also manages cooperation between various clinical and research institutions in order to put the knowledge of all professionals involved in these fields into practise in an optimal way. Amongst other achievements, the network set up a unique tumor tissue bank in 2001 which serves as a central repository of high quality samples placed at the disposal of research projects. These samples are taken from highly malignant tumors that are often not readily treatable. More research groups have thus been provided with a greater number of higher quality samples, and this has already led to the discovery of new risk factors in tumor treatment. The German federal ministry for education and research (BMBF) has funded the network’s various projects since 1999. The next step is to translate the research network’s latest results into clinical routine. These efforts will ultimately further increase cure rates and enhance the quality of life of patients.
Pädiatrische Onkologie und Hämatologie
Further information: http://www.kinderkrebsinfo.de/