Drug Dosing Research Aims To Improve Children’s Cancer Treatment

A multidisciplinary team of experts is working on a project to develop more precise drug dosing for children with cancer, the University of Birmingham reports. The project, named ChromaDose, is a collaboration between the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham, Imperial College London, and University College London.

It is understood that children receiving treatment for chemotherapy process the drugs differently, which can cause inconsistencies in drug concentrations in the blood. This means that in some cases, the patient may not receive enough of the drug dose, or may experience undesirable side-effects, known as cardiotoxicity.

The aim of the new project is to develop a diagnostic drug monitoring tool, which will aid the preparation of optimal drug doses for patients. It will mean that the most common treatment for childhood cancers, anthracycline chemotherapy, can be personalised for each patient.

ChromaDose is a bedside device which can be used by clinicians to calculate the patient’s drug exposure, from a sample of a few drops of blood taken at various times after treatment.

The project co-lead, Professor Pamela Kearns, of the University of Birmingham, said: “In 2021, there are nearly half a million survivors of childhood cancer in Europe and two thirds live with long term side effects from their treatment.”

“One way to improve the side effect profile of a drug is to be more precise in the dosing. ChromaDose has the potential to allow us to individualise the dose of chemotherapy drugs to maximise effect on the tumour while minimising the side effects.”

The team hope to eventually produce a diagnostics tool which will give reliable results within 30 minutes from insertion of the sample. The work is being supported by the National Institute for Health Research, who have provided the team with an i4i Product Development Award of £980,000.

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