Genes to beat cycle of cancer
CANCER treatment for all sufferers, including children, could be revolutionised by a new clinical trial for Australia’s sickest kids starting today.
The Zero Childhood Cancer initiative will begin a national trial with 400 terminally ill kids from today providing personalised cancer treatment based on genetic screening of individual cancer cells and tumours.
In an Australian first, scientists from 13 leading Australian and international research institutes and doctors from all eight of Australia’s kids’ cancer centres will work together to identify and recommend new treatment options.
Children’s tumour samples will undergo complex testing and analysis, and then be tested against hundreds of anticancer drugs to see which treatments will work best for each child’s unique cancer.
Children with the most aggressive cancers with a less than 30 per cent survival rate will be chosen to take part in the national trial.
Researchers hope the $40 million initiative will pave the way for a new way of fighting cancer for not just children but all those hit by the big C.
Children’s Cancer Institute director Michelle Haber said the trial was the “most exciting cancer initiative” she had ever known. “If we are mapping the genetic sequences of these cancers and the patients we can see what genetic markers may have led to that person developing the cancer in the first place,” she said.