Funding research in childhood cancers of low survival
Cancer Australia is supporting collaborative, priority-driven research into children’s cancer by funding three research projects in childhood cancers of low survival in the 2017 round of its annual, national research grants program; the Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme (PdCCRS).
- a study in sensitising medulloblastoma to conventional treatment;
- a study of the critical role of DDX2 in promoting neuroblastoma as a possible therapeutic target; and
- a study to investigate targeting copper metabolism as a novel approach to treatment of neuroblastoma.
Cancer Australia has included a dedicated funding stream with identified areas of priority for research in children’s cancers of low survival for the 2018-20 rounds of the PdCCRS. Cancer Australia is partnering with the Children’s Cancer Foundation, The Leukaemia Foundation Australia, My Room and The Kids’ Cancer Project to maximise opportunities for collaborative funding to support this research.
Applications for the 2018 PdCCRS round closed in March 2018 and successful applicants are expected to be advised towards the end of the year.
Fast tracking international research collaborations of paediatric brain cancer in Australia
Cancer Australia and the Robert Connor Dawes Foundation are each providing $871,449 to the Australian and New Zealand Haematology/Oncology Group (ANZCHOG) to undertake the Access to Innovative Molecular diagnostic Profiling for paediatric brain tumours (AIM-BRAIN) project.
AIM BRAIN brings together Australian experts in paediatric brain tumours with internationally renowned molecular scientists, the most advanced diagnostic platforms currently available and neuro-oncologists throughout Australia and New Zealand; with the collective aim of accelerating Australia’s capacity to undertake advanced molecular testing for paediatric brain tumours; and ultimately better target treatment to improve survival and decrease side effects.
AIM BRAIN is using highly sensitive DNA methylation profiling to complement gene panel analysis in diagnosis of childhood brain cancers, and provide the framework to achieve rapid, accurate diagnostic information for all children in Australia and New Zealand with brain tumours.
- LGG Avastin study
Cancer Australia is also providing $0.51 million to ANZCHOG to undertake the Low Grade Glioma (LGG) Avastin study which would not otherwise open in Australia.
The LGG Avastin study is an international Phase II, open-labelled, multi-centre, randomised controlled trial which aims to examine the hypothesis that: through its action on vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF - which controls the development of new blood vessels which allow tumour growth), the addition of Avastin will increase the activity of the chemotherapy agent Vinblastine - reducing potential side effects of current treatments and improving the outcomes for children with Low Grade Gliomas (LGGs).
Improving national childhood cancer data and supporting Cancer Australia’s children’s cancer website
In August 2018, Cancer Australia will publish initial national data on childhood (paediatric) cancer stage at diagnosis for the 16 major cancer types on the Children's Cancer and NCCI website. These cancer types represent approximately three-quarters of all childhood cancers diagnosed in Australia.
These data have been collected from a world first trial of the Toronto Paediatric Cancer Stage Guidelines to determine stage at diagnosis for childhood cancers diagnosed in Australia from 2006-2010. This will be the first time in the world that national level data on stage at diagnosis will be reported for these cancer types using the Guidelines.
Collection and reporting of these national data will enhance the ability to understand and monitor childhood cancer outcomes by cancer stage, identify disparate outcomes, and ultimately improve childhood cancer outcomes.
The collection of these data for the remaining period of 2011-2014 is still in progress and is anticipated to be finalised in early 2019.
Promoting awareness of children’s cancer
Cancer Australia is working with The Kids’ Cancer Project to raise awareness of childhood cancer and the need for continued research, leading to improved philanthropy for childhood cancer research.
Activities during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (September) and throughout the year will leverage opportunities to maximise collaboration within the childhood cancer non-government organisations (NGOs) sector and support the development of new collaborations.