Current Studies

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials have played an enormous role in the dramatic improvements in childhood cancer cure rates that we have seen in the last 30 years. As of June 2017, 23 clinical trials were open for patient enrolment in our two paediatric oncology treatment centres.



These are run by large paediatric oncology consortiums such as the United States-based Children’s Oncology Group (COG), the European-based International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP), the Australia New Zealand Children’s Haematology Oncology Group (ANZCHOG), St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and other European trials groups. We also run a small number of industry-sponsored trials.



Our ongoing membership of international clinical trial groups offers direct benefits for our patients, including access to new treatment and advanced tumour testing and central review of response to therapy. In addition, New Zealand also contributes to a number of other international research projects such as tumour biology studies and registries for rarely diagnosed childhood cancers.


Click here for a list of clinical trials that are currently open in New Zealand (and have AYA eligibility).


For more information contact:

Sarah Hunter

Research Manager

Starship Blood and Cancer Centre

Dental Late Effects of Oncology Treatment of Children in New Zealand

Anti-neoplastic therapy for children suffering from malignancies can result in dental anomalies such as enamel defects, microdontia, root shortening and missing permanent teeth. This project aims to clinically and radiographically examine the oral health and presence of dental anomalies associated with oncology treatment and to determine the impact of such anomalies.


Attempts will be made to determine if specific neo-plastic agents, types of treatment and age of initial diagnosis allows oncologists and dentists to predict the likelihood of dental abnormalities in children who are undergoing cancer treatment.


For further information contact:

Dr Erin Mahoney

Specialist Paediatric Dentist

Hutt Valley DHB

Developing a Model of Care for the Long-term Follow-up of Childhood Cancer Survivors

During survivorship, issues related to cancer treatment diminish in importance as other issues, such as the management of late effects, rehabilitation, health promotion and psychology support, increase. This Australasian qualitative study delineated the preferences, unmet needs and barriers experienced by this survivorship group, in order to develop a gold standard service specification for the growing number of survivors of childhood cancer. Papers have been published, and will continue to be published as a result.


For further information contact:

Kathy Yallop

Late Effects Clinical Nurse Specialist

Starship Blood and Cancer Centre

Returning to Social Activities after Cancer Diagnosis

There are currently no international guidelines regarding when children should return to social activities following a cancer diagnosis. NCCN and the Child Cancer Foundation are jointly funding a study on the advice given in New Zealand to families with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) about infection risks and the decisions they make about the timing of returning to social activities, including schooling.


From June 2018, the families of children diagnosed with ALL between 2014 and 2016, aged 2–13 at diagnosis were invited to participate in the study. Their participation involved granting the researchers access to their child’s medical and educational attendance records. During September and October, a representative sample of caregivers (25 in total) was interviewed about their experiences navigating infection risks and returning to social activities. In addition, clinicians and family support workers were invited to complete an online questionnaire about the advice they give to families regarding returning to social activities and infection risks.


The study findings will be used by the NCCN to develop nationwide guidelines for advice on infection control and timing of returning to social activities provided to families following a cancer diagnosis.


As at November 2018 all the data has been gathered for the project, with the next steps being analysis of the data, writing up the results, and disseminating the findings.

For further information contact:

Dr. Claire Gooder, Researcher

The Margaret Lewis Study

International research has shown that child cancer survivors are at greater risk of developing subsequent malignancies and of ‘late mortality’ in adulthood due to causes which may be linked to their childhood cancer and its treatment.


Dr Margaret Lewis was a Wellington-based paediatrician who was instrumental in establishing a national children’s cancer database in the 1980s – the predecessor of the New Zealand Children’s Cancer Registry (NZCCR).


The NZCCR Working Group is undertaking a comprehensive analysis of the Margaret Lewis dataset in order to determine the incidence and survival of children diagnosed with cancer in New Zealand between 1978 and 1999, including the incidence of second malignancies and cause-specific mortality.


For further information contact:

Kirsten Ballantine

NZCCR Manager

Children’s Haematology Oncology Centre