The incomparable success in the therapy of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) in children and adolescents has been possible thanks to well-organized international research collaborations, which studied large populations of patients since the early 1960s. The major advances in the knowledge of childhood cancer biology, especially with the recent advent of genome-wide analysis, and an effective exchange of information also contributed to these positive developments.
Collaborative research efforts are still crucial to approach the remaining questions and translate this knowledge from bench to bedside into more effective treatments. Quality research will not only benefit patients, but it will also address the long-term consequences of treatment on an increasing number of survivors, and address the existing inequalities in survival rates and standards of care in many low-income countries.
I-BFM is a globally renowned study group, with a long track record of successes and increasing membership requests. Today the name “I-BFM” represents a strong reference group for every aspect related to paediatric leukaemias and lymphomas and an inclusive forum for all those who have a keen interest in this field.
The group aims to continue the success story of the BFM study group (see “History”) by targeting the following objectives:
- Fostering information exchange among the participating groups, including preliminary results;
- Promoting research projects in childhood leukaemias, lymphomas and related disorders, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas;
- Supporting prospective randomized clinical trials, using consensus approaches and allowing the participation of other groups;
- Initiating cooperative research projects for a better understanding of paediatric cancers’ biology;
- Encouraging a quick and accurate translation of findings from basic to clinical research, and vice versa;
- Achieving a better understanding of very rare haematological malignancies.
Together with the other European-based study groups on paediatric malignancies, I-BFM is also part of the Clinical Research Council of the European Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOP Europe or SIOPE) – the pan-European organisation representing all professionals working in the field of childhood cancers – and endorses the objectives of the ‘SIOPE Strategic Plan SIOPE Strategic Plan – A European Cancer Plan for Children and Adolescents’ for the next ten years.