The battle to eradicate children’s cancer

By Kate Hassett

The battle to eradicate children’s cancer
In a world first, the zero childhood cancer trials have been launched in Sydney

The Zero Childhood Cancer program has now been launched as part of the Children’s Cancer Institute and Sydney Children’s Hospital Network’s initiative to eradicate childhood cancer.

Each year, 950 infants, children and adolescents in Australia are diagnosed with cancer. Whilst Childhood cancer survival rates have increased over the last half century, nearly three of those patients will die every week.

Of those diagnosed with cancer, nearly 150 have less than a 30 per cent chance of survival.

This program is being launched in a world first mission to eradicate the cancer that claims the lives of so many children.

The personalised medical program will take each child’s unique cancer cells and use the individual results to identify which drug is most effective in killing the specific cancer.

Scientists will then be able to tailor a personalised treatment program that will give the child the best chance at survival.

“This is a very exciting initiative that will revolutionise the way in which treatment decisions about childhood cancer will be made,” said the institute’s executive director Professor Michelle Haber.

“We see this as a key step towards our vision of one day helping to cure 100 per cent of children with cancer.”

Currently, for children with the most challenging forms of cancer, there is very little hope.”

The program’s research will benefit those suffering from the most aggressive forms of childhood cancer like brain tumours, sarcomas, infant leukaemias and neuroblastomas.

Director of the Kids Cancer Centre, Professor Glenn Marshall, said the program could minimise the side-effects and suffering caused by chemotherapy.

“Knowing which drugs will not be effective in a patient is as important as knowing which drugs will be effective,” he said.”Our ward is full of children suffering as much from the side effects of treatment as they are suffering from cancer.”






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