Since its early beginnings, the I-BFM study group has become an important international platform for the promotion of clinical and translational research and care for children and adolescents with leukaemia and lymphoma. Most of the paediatric haematology-oncology treatments so far were developed by investigator-driven clinical trials groups: it is only thanks to their work if the cure-rate and the quality-of-cure of children and adolescents with cancer dramatically improved over the past decades.
Established to facilitate optimal research practice exchange among international co-operative groups, I-BFM promotes new research partnerships and collaborations. I-BFM committees meet on a regular basis in between annual meetings to exchange opinions, best practices and research findings . The progresses made are then shared with all I-BFM members during the I-BFM regular meetings, and presented to the broader scientific community at the bi-annual symposium on childhood leukaemia, held in conjunction with the I-BFM Annual Meeting. Transferring knowledge “from bench to bedside” into clinical care, I-BFM backs collaborative laboratory research projects to support clinical research, and its members jointly develop new therapy protocols for large therapy optimization studies.
Another activity of I-BFM is to expand clinical trial networks in countries with limited resources, aiming to address the existing inequalities in survival rates in many low-income countries (where the rate is 10 to 20% lower) and promote equal access to clinical research, standard treatments, care, and follow-up.
I-BFM is also active within several European initiatives coordinated by the European Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOPE), a pan-European organisation representing all professionals working in the field of childhood cancers. The group is indeed part of the SIOPE Clinical Research Council for paediatric and adolescent oncology (CRC), which brings together all European-based paediatric haematology-oncology clinical trial groups and national societies. This decision-making body expresses the unified voice of the research community in Europe, by dealing with common burning issues and by representing the point of CRC members at the highest political level.