Funding key to brain cancer cure for kids
MONEY is the only thing standing between Australian scientists and a cure for the death sentence that is brain cancer in children.
“An annual budget of $5 million would revolutionise the approach to this cancer,” oncologist David Ziegler said.
He said he and his team at Sydney’s Children’s Cancer Institute had been looking for a needle in a haystack — a way to kill diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a brain-stem tumour that’s considered to be 100 per cent fatal. They might have found it in a malaria drug.
All children diagnosed with the tumour, which is inoperable given its position in the brain stem, are given just six to nine months to live.
The team has grown diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma tumours in the lab and then exposed them to thousands of known drugs.
Nearly all of the known chemotherapy drugs have failed on diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma but, in a breakthrough, anti-malarial drugs worked.
It was the most promising breakthrough to date for the cancer, Professor Ziegler said.