$1.3M from NSW Government to seek neuroblastoma treatments
February 15, 2017
Three grants totalling almost $1.3 million have been awarded to researchers from Children’s Cancer Institute to investigate new treatments for neuroblastoma, a cancer that occurs most commonly in children under 5 and accounts for 1 in 6 childhood cancer deaths.
The grants are part of an $11.6 million boost in funding from the NSW Government for researchers working on cures for some of the most aggressive and prevalent cancers affecting both children and adults.
Minister for Health and Medical Research Brad Hazzard said the funding for cancer research will include more than $4 million to investigate new treatments for cancers with poor survival rates such as pancreatic, lung, and ovarian cancers.
“While NSW has some of the best cancer outcomes in the world, there is still much to be done to improve cancer survival rates,” Mr Hazzard said. “These grants are a vital investment to help researchers discover treatment options for these cancers.”
The total funding includes 12 early career fellowships and six career development fellowships, as well as a translational program grant.
Three grants were received by young researchers from Children’s Cancer Institute to do further research into neuroblastoma, which accounts for 15% of all childhood cancer deaths.
Dr Dan Carter’s project is based on his discovery from single cell profiling that a small group of genes controlling cell division are substantially increased in the cells that initiate tumours. He will investigate if increased levels of the genes are needed for neuroblastoma to begin and then test if drugs inhibiting the genes could be a new therapy for high risk subtypes of neuroblastoma.
Dr Pei Yan Liu will define the role in promoting neuroblastoma tumour growth of a new long, non-protein coding RNA she recently discovered. The RNA is found in large amounts in high-risk neuroblastoma. Dr Liu will test new combination therapies to target the RNA.
Dr Orazio Vittorio will evaluate the potential of dextran-catechin as a future neuroblastoma treatment. This molecule is a chemically-modified natural compound that targets copper metabolism. Copper metabolism is an emerging target for anticancer drug design.
“Leukaemia and neuroblastoma are the most common cancers among Australian children and these diagnoses have an enormous impact on these young children and their families,” said Chief Cancer Officer and CEO of the Cancer Institute NSW, Professor David Currow.
“For those in high-risk groups, survival rates remain low. Investment into new treatments for these and other cancers with lower survival rates is crucial to reducing the impact of cancer among our community.”
Children’s Cancer Institute has a strong track record of research into childhood cancers like leukaemia and neuroblastoma with a goal to one day finding a cure.
Carrie Bengston, Research Communications Manager
p: 02 9385 9069
m: 0417 266 190
Children’s Cancer Institute is the only independent medical research organisation in Australia dedicated 100% to childhood cancer research, existing solely to cure childhood cancer and improve the quality of life for survivors. The Institute was originally known as The Children's Leukaemia and Cancer Foundation and was established in May 1976 by a dedicated group of parents and doctors of children with cancer. Children's Cancer Institute opened its own research laboratories in 1984 and has since grown to employ more than 200 staff and students, establishing a national and international reputation for scientific excellence.
Children’s Cancer Institute relies on grants and community support to complete our work. Every dollar we receive from government and granting bodies to support direct research costs must be matched with a dollar raised by the community through partnerships, donations and fundraising to cover the indirect costs of our work. We are constantly under pressure to raise more funds as our research portfolio expands. Without dedicated funding and the help of our supporters – which include community fundraisers, corporate partners, individual donors, supporters and volunteers – we’re unable to complete the vital research we know will uncover a cure for childhood cancer.