Pa­tients are a virtue

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - Denise S. Cahill

RAE­LENE En­der­sby takes can­cer pa­tients and their fam­i­lies on her re­search jour­ney at the Telethon Kids In­sti­tute and says she would not suc­ceed with­out them.

The co-head of the Brain Tu­mour Re­search Pro­gram said a can­cer di­ag­no­sis was trau­matic for fam­i­lies but their will­ing­ness to do­nate the tu­mours to her re­search team would save lives in the fu­ture.

“Our work couldn’t go ahead with­out it,” Dr En­der­sby said.

“Pa­tients in the fu­ture won’t have to walk the same road.”

Dr En­der­sby aims to be­come a Brain­child Fel­low with help from The Ad­ven­tur­ers who are host­ing The Brain­child Ball this month.

RAE­LENE En­der­sby doesn’t want the Brain Tu­mour Re­search Pro­gram that she spearheaded to ex­ist in decades to come.

That’s be­cause the co-head of the pro­gram be­lieves that she, along with Nick Got­tardo and their team of re­searchers, can erad­i­cate brain can­cer in chil­dren.

“We think we can do it be­cause it’s been done in pae­di­atric leukaemia,” Dr En­der­sby said.

“It (leukaemia) used to be a lethal dis­ease with no cure and now the sur­vival rate is above 97 per cent.

“With brain tu­mours, we’re fur­ther be­hind be­cause they’re not as com­mon, but in a cou­ple of decades we’ll have the same suc­cess sto­ries (as leukaemia).”

With the help of fund­ing from The Ad­ven­tur­ers, the two doc­tors, who hail from Perth but met while work­ing to­gether at the St Jude Chil­dren’s Re­search Hospi­tal in Mem­phis, have been able to main­tain a strong and con­sis­tent re­search team at the Telethon Kids In­sti­tute in Su­bi­aco, where their pro­gram is based.

Dr En­der­sby said money raised by The Ad­ven­tur­ers pro­vided se­cu­rity for the re­searchers, so the pro­gram re­tained knowl­edge.

“It means we can have big ideas, even if it will take five years to get an out­come,” she said.

The team has al­ready made in­roads, devel­op­ing a new drug that is part of a clin­i­cal trial to treat chil­dren di­ag­nosed with medul­loblas­toma, which is the most com­mon ma­lig­nant brain tu­mour in chil­dren.

“There’s ev­i­dence that it works and it’s safe for chil­dren and doesn’t in­ter­fere with other treat­ments,” Dr En­der­sby said.

“It will work with stan­dard treat­ments and makes them more ef­fec­tive.

“We can’t get rid of chemo­ther­apy just yet, but we can re­duce the side-ef­fects.”

Chil­dren like Conor Colgan are the only mo­ti­va­tion the re­search team needs to con­tinue with its ef­forts.

Conor, who was di­ag­nosed with a high grade as­tro­cy­toma in 2014 when he was five, will be hon­oured at this year’s Brain­child Ball on Satur­day, July 22 at Crown Perth, where guests will be taken on a Ja­panese ex­pe­ri­ence with a three-course din­ner in­spired by Nobu.

The Ad­ven­tur­ers aim to raise $200,000 that will help Dr En­der­sby be­come a Brain­child Fel­low.

For tick­ets, visit www.brain­child­

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d471371

Dr Rae­lene En­der­sby, co-head of the Brain Tu­mour Re­search Pro­gram at the Telethon Kids In­sti­tute.

Pic­ture: Clip Me­dia Mo­tion

Conor Colgan with his fa­ther, Nathan.

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