Embryonal Cancer Therapy and Prevention
Professor Glenn Marshall is Head of Translational Research at Children's Cancer Institute, Head of the Gene Regulation in Cancer Theme, Clinical Lead of Zero Childhood Cancer Program, and Group Leader of the Embryonal Cancer Therapy and Prevention Group.
Glenn is a paediatric haematologist and oncologist who headed the Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, for 18 years. He leads a number of childhood cancer and chronic illness research networks, clinical research development within ZCC, the Kids Cancer Alliance in NSW, and Kids to Adults Alliance, a new national network aimed at addressing the problems of survivorship for children with chronic illness or disability. He is also a Conjoint Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at UNSW Australia.
Glenn has had a long-standing association with Children’s Cancer Institute, establishing its Molecular Carcinogenesis Program back in 1995, and becoming Head of Translational Research in 2011 with the goal of facilitating connections between clinicians and scientists to improve the survival and quality of life in children with cancer. ‘There’s a range of important themes and work happening at the Institute that I’ve been able to help start over the last 25 years, of which I am very proud’, he says.
Best known for his discoveries on the initiation of embryonal cancers such as neuroblastoma and medulloblastoma and his work on the application of minimal residual disease testing in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, Glenn and his team have developed a number of models of childhood cancer prevention and were the first to show that a drug can be given perinatally to inhibit embryonal cancer initiation. He has also made significant contributions to our understanding of the N-myc (MYCN) oncogene and how its pro-cancerous actions can be therapeutically inhibited. He has published more than 210 papers.
Glenn’s current research focuses on developing strategies for the prevention of embryonal cancers, including investigating the influence of the prenatal and perinatal environment on cancer initiation, and developing new therapeutic approaches aimed at stopping the process of tumour initiation in babies. He also aims to develop and trial a range of new therapies in the future for embryonal cancer, including N-myc inhibitors and combination therapies using histone deacetylase inhibitors.
‘I still see patients every day, and that informs everything I do,’ Glenn says. ‘Losing a clinical battle is a major motivator for me to go back into the lab and find a solution. When things have failed in the clinic, you hope to find an answer in the lab.’
NHMRC Leadership Investigator Grant, 2020
Premier’s Award for Outstanding Cancer Researcher of the Year, 2019
Research Australia’s Hospital Services Research Award, 2019 (highly commended)
Elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, 2017
NSW Premier’s Award for Excellence in Translational Cancer Research (awarded by CINSW to Profs Marshall, Haber and Norris), 2012
NHMRC Ten of the Best, 2012