Pediatric Oncology: A Model Of Innovation Through Collaboration
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Within the last forty years, the childhood cancer five-year survival rate has increased by more than 45%. The field of pediatric oncology has seen a tremendous growth in outcome and much of this success can be attributed to the diverse collaborative model that it is built upon. A multi-institutional research consortium which encompasses the majority of pediatric cancer treatment centers has led to an extraordinarily high participation rate in clinical trials and consequent surge in clinical and scientific knowledge. Child cancer patients are treated by collaborative oncology teams consisting of doctors from many geographical locations and in a variety of specialties. Furthermore, unilateral team-based care with a multi-disciplinary approach to treatment and the inclusion of fields such as physical therapy, nutrition, social work, and psychology has greatly improved outcomes. This thesis aims to further understand and characterize the field of pediatric oncology as a model of innovation and paradigm for success through collaboration rather than competition. The purpose of this research is also to understand areas for further growth within pediatric oncology and suggest methods to continue the current trajectory of innovation. This thesis will analyze how this collaborative model can be translated to other fields of medicine, including adult oncology, to spur similar growth. Finally, the ethical implications of treating children with cancer will be considered.