Prestigious Commonwealth investment heralds a new era in childhood cancer treatment

03 Mar 2014

Children’s Cancer Institute is proud to announce its personalised medicine program for children with cancer as a key partner of the newly-funded Cancer Therapeutics Cooperative Research Centre (CTx).

CTx, a collaboration of leading national and international cancer research organisations from the academic, industry and health sectors, has received funding of $34 million from the federal government, which will be matched by cash and in-kind contributions of approximately $89 million from its 17 industry, research institute and university participants.

“This is a quantum leap that will substantially enhance the childhood cancer research environment and will ultimately impact the way children are treated for this terrible disease,” said Professor Michelle Haber AM, Executive Director, Children’s Cancer Institute.

“This partnership means we can improve the development and targeting of new therapies for children with cancer and take the next step in our research into personalising treatment for each child.

“We know a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to treating children with cancer does not work, especially for those unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with the most aggressive cancers.

“Most people don’t realise that childhood cancer is different from adult cancer – it has different causes, occurs in different tissues and behaves differently, and therefore requires differently tailored treatments.

“Personalised medicine is the key to improving survival rates for children with cancer and giving them the best possible quality of life. With this funding, we are ideally positioned to accelerate this program, by targeting the use of new and existing drugs most effectively to the biology of each child’s cancer, to maximise the likelihood of successful treatment outcomes.”

CTx works closely with researchers, oncologists and the pharmaceutical industry to address the current challenges of a lack of effective drugs, escalating costs and increasingly lengthy delays in drug approvals.

“Large pharmaceutical companies generally don’t focus their research on drug discoveries for childhood cancers,” continued Professor Haber.

“This partnership with CTx will enhance our ability to develop safer, more effective drugs for children with cancer and to increasingly translate our research into clinical practice, by working closely with clinicians at Sydney Children’s Hospital Network and throughout the country.

“We look forward to generating more support from the government and the community for our personalised medicine program – which will be based on an entirely new level of collaboration that will establish a seamless integration of research into clinical practice.”