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Child Support: The Need for More Pediatric Cancer Treatment Options

Amanda Stevenson-Grund - Friday, September 11, 2015

About 10,380 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2015. Childhood cancer rates have been rising slightly for the past few decades.
American Cancer Society. Cancer in Children. 2015

A child with pediatric cancer and no hair looks into the distance.

Tech companies always seem to be creating the next generation of technology. To biotech and medical companies, however, the next generation means pediatric patients. As an overlooked segment of the patient population, pediatric patients face many diseases and often have inadequate treatment options. Children with pediatric cancers, in particular, need more treatment options because of late detection, lack of ability to affect the condition through modification of lifestyle factors and noncompliance.

According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization, 80% of childhood cancer cases are diagnosed after metastasis. Later diagnoses can mean the need for more aggressive treatment. There is a need for robust but safe treatments for late-stage cancers in children.

Lifestyle can affect the course and outcome of many diseases, including many adult cancers. By adopting a healthy lifestyle and avoiding certain habits, adults can manage and sometimes prevent cancer. Most pediatric cancers, however, are not caused by lifestyle or environmental factors. Because lifestyle changes often won’t make a difference, the need for more medical treatment options is great.

Medication noncompliance can cost patients and their caregivers financially and can further jeopardize patients’ health. Pediatric patients are at high risk for noncompliance. They are more likely to experience dysphagia and are more sensitive to bitter-tasting medication. Young children and infants may not be able to understand the importance of taking the medicine, which puts more strain on caregivers and can decrease compliance.

Late detection, lack of ability to affect the condition through modification of lifestyle factors and noncompliance all point to the need for more treatment options in pediatric cancer. Orbis Biosciences is aware of this need. We are able to develop taste-masked and format-flexible drugs with precise dosing. These capabilities can increase compliance and could lead to better treatment options for children with cancer. Like many companies, we remain committed to the next generation.

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