National clinical trial ecosystem will enable more treatment options for children with cancer in Australia

27 Jul 2023

Clinical trial and drug access for Australian adults and children with cancer will be improved by PrOSPeCT (Precision Oncology Screening Platform Enabling Clinical Trials) — the nation’s largest cancer genomics initiative, launched today.

PrOSPeCT is led by Omico, The Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Centre, one of four founding commercial partners along with Children’s Cancer Institute, Roche Australia and the National Computational Infrastructure at Australian National University. This group will oversee the delivery of PrOSPeCT, a precision medicine clinical trial ecosystem that does not currently exist in Australia, made possible by public and private funds totalling $185M.

“There are currently not enough therapeutic options for children with cancer,” said Professor Michelle Haber AM, Executive Director, Children’s Cancer Institute. “Within PrOSPeCT, Children’s Cancer Institute will lead a dedicated paediatric stream to build partnerships and value propositions with industry, with the ultimate goal of increasing drug access, developing new drugs and enabling more treatment options for children and adolescents with cancer.”

Using the results of genomic screening, PrOSPeCT will identify the genetic drivers of an individual’s cancer, with patients rapidly matched to an expanded range of clinical trials, thereby attracting global pharmaceutical companies to conduct clinical trials in Australia. The result: more novel drugs through clinical trials, leading to greater benefits for both Australian adult and childhood cancer patients.

Children’s Cancer Institute is a founding partner due to its core focus on discovering more effective treatments for children with cancer and extensive experience in precision medicine through the ZERO Childhood Cancer Program. Led jointly by Children’s Cancer Institute and the Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, and including all nine of Australia’s children’s hospitals, ZERO is Australia’s national precision medicine program for children with cancer.

“ZERO is already conducting comprehensive genomic sequencing for all children in Australia with highest risk cancers, and the ZERO national clinical trial is now being expanded to include all Australian children and adolescents with cancer by the end of this year, irrespective of their type of tumour or level of risk”, said Michelle.

“We look forward to working with all of the PrOSPeCT partners to extend industry collaboration and fast track the development and use of precision treatments for all cancer patients in Australia.”

Said Dr Richard Mitchell, Director of the Kids Cancer Centre, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick: “We’ve come a long way in the mission to cure childhood cancer, however there is still more to do and the way we achieve that is through collaboration. This initiative is a great step forward in our ability to increase drug access for children with cancer, with the goal to improve treatment options and ultimately impact survival rates.”

Media Contact
Lisa Cuthbertson
Head of Corporate Communications, Children’s Cancer Institute
0407 662 092