Genes to beat cy­cle of can­cer

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - News - LANAI SCARR

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.

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