The Director of the I4C International Coordinating Centre, Terry Dwyer, was tasked in 2004 with leading an evaluation of whether the National Children's Study (NCS), a childhood cohort of 100,000 participants, would be sufficiently sized to include cancer as a feasible outcome.
These discussions led to the conclusion that the NCS alone would not have sufficient power to examine childhood cancers, given their rarity. However, it was agreed that a collaboration of existing and planned large cohorts may provide the necessary power to obtain prospective evidence on the potential causes of childhood cancers.
A workshop was held on September 28-29, 2005, in Rockville, MD, USA, to discuss the development of an international alliance of longitudinal studies of children. Research teams from 15 countries spanning four continents, representing approximately 700,000 children, agreed to a collaboration leading to the establishment of the International Childhood Cancer Cohort Consortium (I4C).
This sample size would allow researchers to examine the role of postulated causal factors (environmental, infectious and genetic) of childhood cancers.
Importantly, the study has the backing of the USA's National Institutes of Health (NIH), which can be viewed as an indication of the scientific importance and promise of the study.
The Murdoch Children's Research Institute has been designated as the I4C International Data Coordinating Centre, highlighting the important international contributions the institute is making to improve the health and wellbeing of all children.
More detail about the formation of the consortium is available in this paper:
Brown RC, Dwyer T, Kasten C, Krotoski D, Li Z, Linet MS, Olsen J, Scheidt P, Winn DM.
Cohort profile: the International Childhood Cancer Cohort Consortium (I4C)
International Journal of Epidemiology 36 (4) : 724 - 30(2007) PubMed