Childhood cancers are the leading cause of death due to disease in high-income countries, and they are a rising source of cause of death in low- and middle-income countries.
However, because childhood cancers are biologically different than adult cancers and are rare, investigating and identifying risk factors for them is very difficult. Also, the money spent by governments on childhood cancer research is a fraction of the amount spent on all cancer research.
While the causes of cancer in children are not fully understood, they likely involve both genes and environmental exposures, alone and in combination. CLIC is a large group of international researchers who are committed to sharing resources and pooling data to find out why kids get leukemias and other cancers. Understanding what causes childhood cancer is the critical first step towards prevention.
In 2007, the Childhood Leukemia International Consortium (CLIC) was founded to overcome the limitations of individual case-control studies of pediatric leukemias; and in 2019, CLIC began to accept studies of childhood solid tumors and changed its name to the Childhood Cancer and Leukemia International Consortium while retaining its original acronym. CLIC’s mission is to develop and support collaborations among epidemiologists, clinicians, tumor biologists, geneticists, immunologists, toxicologists, and/or statisticians.
Together, these scientists evaluate factors that influence the risk of childhood cancer through epidemiologic studies, genomic studies, and related research. CLIC currently focuses on studying childhood leukemias, brain tumors, and embryonal tumors. Most of these studies have detailed epidemiologic data, and about half have biospecimens or existing genomic data. The immense wealth of available data provides CLIC the unique opportunity to assess the individual and interactive effects of genetic and environmental risk factors on childhood cancers.