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New trial offers renewed hope to children and young adults with ALL

2022 will see the opening of an international Phase II Clinical Trial at sites across Australia, giving access to two new and promising drugs for children and young adults who relapse with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).

The innovative new trial, titled RAVEN, will be the first study to examine the effectiveness of combination treatment to overcome chemotherapy resistance in a large number of children and young people with relapsed ALL.

While more than 80 per cent of children and young people with ALL will be cured with frontline treatment, 10 to 20 per cent of them will relapse.

The international trial, funded equally by the Leukaemia Foundation and Snowdome Foundation, is the first time an ALL trial developed by St Jude Children’s Research Hospital (Memphis, U.S.) will be available Australia-wide.

This is the eighth project Leukaemia Foundation and Snowdome Foundation have co-funded to improve outcomes for blood cancer patients.

Leukaemia Foundation and Snowdome logo

The trial will treat ALL-relapsed children and young adults aged four to 21 with a combination of venetoclax, navitoclax and chemotherapy and will recruit up to 78 patients in Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S.

RAVEN is due to open in Australia in the second quarter of 2022 and is expected to recruit participants over the following two years. The trial will be available at:

  • Royal Children’s Hospital (VIC)
  • Monash Children’s Hospital (VIC)
  • Queensland Children’s Hospital (QLD)
  • John Hunter Children’s Hospital (NSW)
  • Children’s Hospital at Westmead (NSW)
  • Sydney Children’s Hospital (NSW) Women’s & Children’s Hospital (SA).
Dr Michael Osborn
Dr Michael Osbon, principal investigator for the Australia & New Zealand RAVEN Trial Team

Dr Michael Osborn, consultant paediatric and haematologist/oncologist at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, will lead this trial.

“High-quality clinical trials are vital to improve clinical care for patients and international partnerships are essential due to the rarity of childhood cancers,” said Dr Osborn.

“Venetoclax has been shown to be highly effective in a number of haematological malignancies in older adults, such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia and certain lymphomas, but with ALL patients, there’s only really been some early Phase I studies. The combination of the two drugs – venetoclax and navitoclax – makes this trial quite unique.

“If it’s shown to be effective, it will offer potential treatments for patients who’ve run out of other options. We anticipate that there will be just over 10 children and young people across Australia per year who would be eligible for this trial but hope that what we learn from this study will benefit many more.”


Oren with his parents in hospital, during treatment (left); Oren, now 15 and in remission (right)



“Being told your child has ALL is an incredible shock, and from that moment on, you’re totally focused on getting rid of it – you just want your child back. During Oren’s treatment we met parents of children that had relapsed and were running out of options, so we know trials like this are an absolute lifeline – they give parents hope when it’s needed most.” 

– Fiona Snell, Oren’s mum

Oren is 15 and has been in remission since February 2020, after being diagnosed with a rare subtype of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Read his full story here.