30 years closer: Children’s Cancer Institute celebrates three decades of dedicated research
May 26, 2014
Internationally renowned medical research organisation, Children’s Cancer Institute, is this year celebrating 30 years since its lab doors first opened. The milestone was officially launched today at the Institute’s Annual General Meeting.
“When I was appointed as the first scientist in the new laboratories of Children’s Cancer Institute 30 years ago, the idea that we would one day contribute directly to curing childhood cancer was just a hope and an aspiration,” says the Institute’s Executive Director, Professor Michelle Haber AM.
“Today, we no longer just hope to do it – our research is already directly impacting the survival of children with cancer and we are absolutely confident that one day we will achieve our goal.”
Children’s Cancer Institute is at the forefront of a new era in childhood cancer treatment known as personalised medicine – which it believes is the key to improving survival rates and giving children with cancer the best possible quality of life.
“Sixty years ago, cancer was almost always a death sentence for a child. Today, as a result of medical research, eight out of ten children survive,” continued Prof Haber.
“This is why our work is vital. It’s up to us to make sure that our discoveries continue to progress into new treatments for kids as quickly as possible.”
Founded by two fathers who met in an oncology ward while their children underwent treatment for leukaemia, Children’s Cancer Institute is the only independent medical research institute in Australia wholly dedicated to childhood cancer.
Chief Paediatrician of NSW, Professor Les White AM, said: “As someone who has been involved with Children’s Cancer Institute from the very beginning, it is wonderful to see the impact of its work.
“Children’s Cancer Institute has made significant, world-renowned discoveries in its 30 years, which contribute to saving children’s lives. The Institute’s work is imperative in our fight against childhood cancer.”
About Children’s Cancer Institute
Originally founded by two fathers of children with cancer in 1976, Children’s Cancer Institute is the only independent medical research institute in Australia wholly dedicated to research into the causes, prevention and cure of childhood cancer. Forty years on, our vision remains unchanged – to save the lives of all children with cancer and to eliminate their suffering. The Institute has grown to now employ more than 220 researchers, operational staff and students, and has established a national and international reputation for scientific excellence.
Our focus is on translational research, and we have an integrated team of laboratory researchers and clinician scientists who work together in partnership to discover new treatments which can be progressed from the lab bench to the beds of children on wards in our hospitals as quickly as possible. These new treatments are specifically targeting childhood cancers, so we can develop safer and more effective drugs and drug combinations that will minimise side-effects and ultimately give children with cancer the best chance of a cure with the highest possible quality of life.
We are currently leading the establishment of the Zero Childhood Cancer national child cancer personalised medicine program for children with the most aggressive cancers, in partnership with the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network. This program will revolutionise the way treatment decisions are made, with the aim of improving survivorship for those children at highest risk of treatment failure from their disease.