Bench to bedside research for childhood cancer gets funding boost
June 9, 2016
Children’s Cancer Institute, one of six partners in the Kids Cancer Alliance, was a major recipient of translational research grants from the Cancer Institute NSW.
Announced this week by NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner, the grants support cancer researchers, research infrastructure and the state’s translational cancer research centres which turn discoveries at the laboratory bench into clinical treatments. The Kids Cancer Alliance (KCA), a network of all clinicians and scientists working on child cancer in NSW, received $6.5M – the largest grant awarded.
UNSW Conjoint Professor Glenn Marshall, KCA Director and Children’s Cancer Institute’s Head of Translational Research, said the Kids Cancer Alliance was itself established as a translational cancer research centre through a visionary grant from the Cancer Institute NSW in 2011.
“This new funding will help accelerate improvements in the survival rates and quality of life of children diagnosed with cancer,” Professor Marshall said.
A key focus for the Kids Cancer Alliance has been the development of early phase or experimental trials capacity and NSW now leads Australia in offering a wide range of therapeutic options for children with high risk cancer.
Other Cancer Institute NSW awards announced included funding for researchers working to turn their laboratory results into viable cancer treatments for children. Children’s Cancer Institute recipients include tumour biologist Dr Joshua McCarroll (Career Development Fellowship) and leukaemia researcher Dr Duohui Jing (Early Career Fellowship).
A Research Infrastructure Grant was also awarded to Children’s Cancer Institute Deputy Director Professor Murray Norris. The $300K grant will support highly-skilled professional staff to manage the ACRF Drug Discovery Centre, a world-class drug discovery and high throughput screening facility. The facility is a key part of the Zero Childhood Cancer personalised medicine program.
About the Kids Cancer Alliance
The Kids Cancer Alliance (KCA) comprises over 120 active members, representing more than 400 researchers and clinicians in NSW at the three child cancer treatment centres (Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick, Children’s Hospital Westmead, John Hunter Children’s Hospital), and three Medical Research Institutes (Children’s Cancer Institute, Children’s Medical Research Institute Australia and Kids Research Institute), all focussed on children with cancer. Over the past 10 years KCA researchers have led the international trend in cancer medicine toward individualised care through their work on common, aggressive child cancers, including acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, neuroblastoma and brain tumours. Read more information.
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.