Only 50 years ago, childhood cancer was considered incurable. Today the cure rate stands at around 80%. The increase in cure rates for child cancer patients has been built on clinical trials research. It has helped develop better ways to diagnose and classify cancer, assess relapse risk and better treatments built on personalised cancer care. However, despite the many successes in treatment, cancer is still the second most common cause of death in Australian children today.
In most developed countries collaborative clinical teams caring for children with cancer have conducted clinical trials as a way of scientifically testing whether a new therapy is better than the old. Clinical trial participation has significantly improved the cure rate for children’s cancer in the past 20 years. Currently governments do not fund the clinical trials research that will take the cure rate to 100%. Thus, we are seeking community support to be able to provide the world’s best therapy for Australian children diagnosed with cancer treated at the Kids Cancer Centre in Sydney Children’s Hospital, and the Children’s Cancer Centre at the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne. It’s essential to the ongoing delivery of excellent care for Aussie kids diagnosed with cancer.
A number of the research programs supported by SWCCF are collaborative projects across multiple laboratories and hospitals.
Personalised childhood cancer care
Partnership between The Royal Children’s Hospital and Sydney Children’s Hospital
Professor Glenn Marshall and Associate Professor Paul Ekert
This research project aims to advance personalised medicine as standard of care within the Children’s Cancer Centre and better our understanding of the gene mutations that cause cancer. Expertise and analysis developed at RCH will be shared with the Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital through this collaborative project. The key outcome will be the development of tools and processes to make individual analysis of paediatric cancers available to Australian families.
Children’s Cancer Centre, The Royal Children’s Hospital and Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Associate Professor Paul Ekert
The key objective of this project is to study the changes that occur in the genes of cancer cells, and how those changes can be used in the diagnosis of cancer and the selection of appropriate treatments.
Clinical Research Associate
Children’s Cancer Centre, Monash Children’s Hospital
SWCCF funds a Clinical Research Associate supporting the paediatric oncology clinical trials program at Monash Children’s Cancer Centre. The aim of the clinical trials program is to improve the long-term survival and quality of life in young people diagnosed with cancer. The Clinical Research Associate is responsible for opening new clinical trials and recruiting patients who are eligible for existing studies and works closely with the Clinical Trials Coordinator and the medical and nursing teams to monitor and report on the health and wellbeing of patients who are enrolled in a trial.