The Pfizer Research Prize 2021 for Clinical Paediatrics goes to Christa König and Cécile Adam for the results from the SPOG 2015 FN Definition study.
A fever in neutropenia (FN) infection is the most common potentially fatal side effect of chemotherapy for cancer. In FN, fever occurs during a temporary deficiency of white blood cells. The standard treatment for this is emergency hospitalisation and the immediate use of antibiotics. The SPOG-initiated clinical trial assessed the safety of a high fever threshold of 39.0° C (ear temperature) versus a lower fever threshold of 38.5° C for the diagnosis of fever in neutropenia. It was conducted between 2016 and 2018 at six SPOG paediatric oncology centres in Switzerland in a total of 269 children and adolescents undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. In the process, 360 FN episodes could be examined.
Ms König and Ms Adam, together with the whole study team, were able to show that the higher temperature limit is just as reliable for diagnosing FN. By switching to the higher temperature, the clinics concerned will be able to reduce overtherapies with antibiotics in the future. “I hope this award also serves as an incentive to continue supporting clinical research for children and adolescents with cancer so that we can continue to improve their treatment,” says König.
The SPOG congratulates Christa König, MD, and Cécile Adam, MD, for their important contribution and for winning the most prestigious research prize in medicine for young researchers in Switzerland! The complete study results are published in the journal “The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health”.