The Children’s International Consortium on Acute Leukemia (C-ICAL) is an international network that seeks to improve the care of pediatric patients with acute leukemia.
Dr. Curt Bodkyn (The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad; Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mount Hope, Trinidad) is a pediatric hematologist/oncologist who has been an active participant in C-ICAL since its inception in 2016. Before his involvement, Dr. Bodkyn’s was active in another collaboration, the SickKids Caribbean Initiative. He shared that working with C-ICAL provided him with an excellent opportunity to tap into intellectual resources for protocol adaptation, with the goal of improving outcomes for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in the English-speaking Caribbean. Here he discusses the institutional review board (IRB) process, patient enrollment, and the strides he hopes to make in the months and years ahead.
“For us as pediatric oncologists, the main thrust is to improve outcomes for children with ALL in the region. The development of a local protocol is one major step toward this primary goal. However this initiative adds another necessary dimension — the continued support throughout the life of the study, with monthly case discussions and monitoring of our progress. The latter is crucial to ensuring best practices, and therefore, best outcomes.
“In seeking IRB approvals, the ASH team has been excellent to work with. They started with an understanding of the region and the local challenges, which segued into analysis of the existing outcomes and protocol adaptation. The protocol adaptation involved review of the published data with extensive discussion between the ASH/C-ICAL team and my Caribbean colleagues in Barbados, Bahamas, and Jamaica. This was then followed by ASH/C-ICAL obtaining IRB approval. Once that approval was granted for the study, the four participating Caribbean islands sought local IRB approval. The next steps involved visits to the local site by an ASH team to ensure that the necessary support was in place for patient enrollment.”