Children’s Cancer Institute celebrates 40th anniversary

29 Sep 2016

In 1975, two parents heard some of the most devastating words imaginable, “Your child has cancer.”

At that time, there were very few treatment options and survival rates for children with cancer were less than 50%. These two parents, Jack Kasses OAM and John Lough OAM, recognised the need for childhood cancer research in Australia to identify improved treatments for all kids with cancer and thanks to the commitment, dedication and vision of Jack and John, Children’s Cancer Institute was founded in 1976.

“40 years ago, there really weren’t many major treatment options, it was very experimental, there was no research work being done and most of the children didn’t survive” explains Jack Kasses OAM co-founder of Children’s Cancer Institute.

Throughout its history, Children’s Cancer Institute has benefited from the significant support of parents and the community, and today the Institute is a world leader in childhood cancer research and currently employs over 200 people, with more than 140 scientists researching the cure for childhood cancer– 3 of whom are the original scientists who worked for the Institute when it first opened its labs and are now senior research leaders within the Institute all these years on.

On Thursday 29th September, invited guests will gather at Children’s Cancer Institute in Randwick with Guest of Honour and Life Patron of the Institute, Professor The Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, to recognise founders Jack and John and all of the many loyal supporters of Children’s Cancer Institute who have contributed to the Institute’s success over the past 40 years. This celebration will also include updates on the very latest research discoveries to improve treatments for children with cancer and information about Zero Childhood Cancer, the new national personalised medicine program for children with high-risk or relapsed cancer which is being developed by Children’s Cancer institute in partnership with the Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick. Zero Childhood Cancer is currently in pilot study stage and is planned to move to a national Phase 1 Clinical trial in 2017.

“It is rare in your lifetime to meet such inspiring people capable of making such a difference. At the very heart of Children’s Cancer Institute are the parents who support us; their efforts underpin our research success and motivate and inspire us in our work every day, and there is no better example of this than Jack and John”.

“Zero Childhood Cancer is the largest single childhood cancer research initiative ever undertaken in Australia. The program will revolutionise the way in which treatment decisions for children with the most aggressive cancers will be made by clinicians treating children throughout the country. Thanks to the vision of Jack and John all those years ago, we are in a position to build on the success of the last 40 years by moving this ambitious program forward with the goal of improving survival rates for all kids with cancer”, said Children’s Cancer Institute’s Executive Director Professor Michelle Haber AM.