aPODD - accelerating Pardiatric Oncology Drug Development Logo

17, October, 2016

The hunt for a new treatment for Neuroblastoma

A new project has been launched with the goal of identifying a potential new treatment for neuroblastoma, a type of cancer that it prevalent in children and adolescents. Neuroblastoma is the most common solid tumour occurring in children, with the exception of brain tumours. This disease can be particularly aggressive and quickly become resistant to conventional therapies, leading to a large number of deaths every year. New therapeutic options are urgently needed offering an alternative to conventional therapies, which do not work in all cases, and give hope to those young patients battling this deadly disease.

This project is a joint effort between aPODD, a London-based charity focused on childhood cancer drug development, ENEA - European Neuroblastoma Association, an Italian parent association supporting neuroblastoma research, and Healx, an award winning UK company with solid expertise in drug repurposing, which is the science of identifying new uses for known drugs.

Offering a new approach to drug discovery, Healx will apply its technology to identify the hidden links between drugs and diseases. Using neuroblastoma data, the scientists at Healx will predict which existing compounds could have a therapeutic effect on this cancer. The identified compounds will then be further tested experimentally with an appropriate academic or corporate partner. By looking at existing compounds, already in use for other diseases, we can dramatically reduce the risk and cost of drug development. And potentially identify treatments that could be taken to clinical evaluation in neuroblastoma patients faster, when compared with conventional methods.

ENEA - European Neuroblastoma Association is funding the work by Healx, and aPODD will work with the Cambridge-based company to provide scientific support for ongoing validation. aPODD is also committed to fundraise in support of the future experimental work and the identification of appropriate research partners. All parties agree to make the result of this research project freely available to the scientific community as soon as they are confident with the quality of the gathered information.

This is yet another example of how childhood cancer charities can join forces and collaborate with innovative technology providers to speed up the development of new treatments for the benefit of sick children.


Contact Details


Cesare Spadoni, PhD MBA





Narissa Gipp

Liaison and Communication Manager


paediatric oncology facts

Childhood cancers statistics

Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease for children in the developed world, with the global incidence projected to increase dramatically over the next decades. Despite cure rates of 70-80% for many cancers, a subset of patients still face a very poor prognosis.

read more