What we do
Zero Childhood Cancer (ZERO) is the most exciting childhood cancer research initiative ever undertaken in Australia. Led by Children’s Cancer Institute and Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, and involving unprecedented collaboration between national and international research and clinical partners, ZERO is changing the model of care for children and young people with cancer.
The national clinical trial
The current Zero Childhood Cancer national clinical trial is a 3-year trial that began in September 2017. By the end of 2020, the total number of children enrolled is expected to reach over 400. Extension of this trial has recently been approved, which will allow us to continue to enrol patients without interruption. The current trial is open to all children and young people up to 21 years of age who have high-risk or relapsed cancer. These people have aggressive cancers which have not responded to treatment, and who face a less than 30% chance of survival.
The aim of the clinical trial is to test the practicality and impact of providing a comprehensive testing platform (including genomic analysis, drug screening and drug testing) to identify personalised treatments for children and adolescents with high-risk cancer.
Building on the success of the first three years of the trial, we will now expand access to and enhance the program over the next 3 years. Excitingly, the new trial will not only include children with high-risk cancer; it will be expanded over time to be accessible to all children with cancer. By the end of 2023, all Australian children and young people with cancer will be able to benefit from ZERO, regardless of the cancer they have. For the first time, every child diagnosed with cancer will have access to personalised medicine.
Accelerating research through Zero Childhood Cancer
Each child participating in ZERO’s national clinical trial has a sample from their tumour subjected to detailed laboratory analyses, using a wide range of cutting-edge science and technology. This generates data that is not only used to provide potentially actionable recommendations to the child’s treating clinician, but is also used to inform a variety of child cancer research projects that will enhance the program’s capabilities over time.
ZERO is generating an incredible wealth of research data that is adding enormously to our understanding of childhood cancer and creating a valuable resource for cancer researchers worldwide. In particular, tumour analysis of children taking part in the clinical trial is leading to exciting revelations about the causes and molecular drivers of cancers in children, which in turn is driving research into potential therapies and preventive strategies.
Strategic research imperatives for ZERO include those focusing on liquid biopsy and tumour heterogeneity, strengthening computational biology precision medicine capabilities, immuno-oncology, preclinical modelling, child cancer predisposition, and psychosocial and health systems. Expansion of the national clinical trial to include all children and young people diagnosed with cancer by 2023 will lead to more novel research activities in the coming years.
For more information on the Zero Childhood Cancer program, visit our dedicated website: www.zerochildhoodcancer.org.au.
News & blogs
Cancer research today: Collaboration is key
Opening the black box of childhood cancer – results from a...
Zero Childhood Cancer: How far have we come?
Awareness Wednesday: Discover and Translate
Get in touch
Do you have a question about our work? For any enquiries please don’t hesitate to contact us.