Through the PARC Program to bolster pediatric oncology clinical research infrastructure in low income countries (LICs) and middle income countries (MICs), SIOP will enhance the capacity for research-informed treatment to improve the care and cure of children with cancer.

Established in March 2022 and governed by a Committee of prominent leaders in global pediatric oncology, the PARC Program seeks to 1) enable SIOP members and partners to expand research capacity in order to generate local evidence for cure and care, 2) advocate for increased use of research to provide evidence that optimizes the outcomes for children with cancer, and 3) mobilize resources for clinical research capacity development in LICs and MICs.

With funds from Amazon and Foundation S, the PARC Committee, headed by Dr. Guillermo Chantada, has identified several cooperative groups to receive grant support for capacity development work. In Africa, the support goes to the Collaborative African Network for Childhood Cancer Care and Research Cooperative Group (CANCARE Africa).

With support from the PARC Program, CANCARE Africa, a multidisciplinary regional network in sub-Saharan Africa with 9 hospitals in seven sub-Saharan countries, will help to improve its research capacity in several ways. The PARC grant will sustain, formalize and expand research infrastructure, including high-quality local and central project and data management, thus increasing research capacity and facilitating growth. Secondly, it will facilitate the completion, analysis and dissemination of two ongoing multi-centre prospective clinical studies, Wilms Africa and SUCCOUR Phase II. This support will enable sustained research productivity. This research will provide a critical foundation for future implementation sciences- informed intervention initiatives aiming to improve care and survival of children with cancer. Lastly, the PARC grant will enable the development and submission of competitive research proposals providing funding on a larger scale to ensure future growth, essential research knowledge and, most importantly, to improve and increase research and leadership capacity in sub-Saharan Africa.

Furthermore, CANCARE Africa will host a meeting in Malawi at the end of April 2023 with all its collaborators. During this meeting, it will discuss and prioritize future research initiatives based on the amount of available funding at that time. The aim for these initiatives is to include Wilms Africa Phase III (planned to be a randomized controlled trial), “SUCCOUR Phase III” (the implementation of a local care pathway for the management of fever and neutropenia to reduce infection related mortality) and “Zero Abandonment from Start to Finish” (the implementation of a family support intervention to prevent treatment abandonment – following a successful and published pilot project in Malawi of a similar intervention which reduced treatment abandonment from 19% to 7%, p<0.001).

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