Major trial to combat cancer in children
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, 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 children’s 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. It builds on the successful NSW pilot with 60 children that began in 2015.
Researchers hope the $ 40 million initiative will pave a new way of fighting cancer
Three children and adolescents die every week in Australia from cancer.
Michelle Haber, executive Director of the Children’s Cancer Institute and research lead on the trial, said this was the “most exciting cancer initiative” she had ever known.
“There has never been anything on this scale in terms of collaboration and complexity and something that will genuinely change the model of care for those at most serious risk,” Professor Haber said.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the Federal Government was providing $ 20m to support the initiative. The Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital and The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute are taking part in the initiative.