Dr Jamie Fletcher is Principal Scientist in the Experimental Therapeutics Group at Children’s Cancer Institute, and a Conjoint Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine at UNSW Sydney. His research focuses on high-risk neuroblastoma – aggressive, difficult to treat cases of neuroblastoma associated with survival rates below 50%.
Jamie has worked for many years to develop a panel of highly specialised pre-clinical models of high-risk neuroblastoma, including patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models and models of metastatic disease. These models are critical to testing the effectiveness of different drugs and drug combinations and underpin his research aimed at identifying and prioritising new agents for clinical trials in children with high-risk neuroblastoma. The models are also utilised by other scientists at the Institute, and elsewhere in the country, and are an important component of the Zero Childhood Cancer Program clinical trial.
In other research, Jamie is working to improve our understanding of drug resistance mechanisms, investigating why anti-cancer drugs fail in some patients and if there may be ways to predict, avoid or reverse drug resistance. He is also investigating new approaches to non-invasive monitoring of disease progression and drug response. Linking in with this is his research into relapse in children with neuroblastoma.
‘I want to understand the drivers of relapse, and to be able to identify relapse as earlier as possible’ he explains. ‘We need to know which patients are going to relapse so treatment can be changed to try to prevent that from happening.’
Jamie moved into childhood cancer research as a junior scientist because he wanted to do research with a clear social and economic value. He says he loves having the opportunity to work somewhere where everyone has the same goal. ‘To work in an organisation where we have a really clear objective and everybody is on board with that is very unusual, and to me that’s a really important part of working at the Institute.’
UNSW Arc Postgraduate Council Supervisor Award, 2018
UNSW Faculty of Medicine Dean’s Rising Star Award, 2011
Children's Cancer Institute Award, 2011
Cancer Institute NSW Career Development & Support Fellowship, 2010
Balnaves Foundation Young Researcher’s Fund Award, 2008
NHMRC Peter Doherty Fellowship, University of Melbourne, 2000