Cutting-edge research projects at Children’s Cancer Institute received a total of nearly $1.8M over three years in the 2016 round of Cancer Australia’s Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme (PdCCRS). The three grants were awarded through the PdCCRS and co-funded by the Australian Government through Cancer Australia and The Kids’ Cancer Project. One of the grants (A/Prof Ziegler’s, see below) was also co-funded by Cancer Council NSW.
This funding will fast-forward research into childhood leukaemia, neuroblastoma and one of the worst kids’ cancers, brain cancer diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). Grant recipients are:
- Professor Richard Lock, head of our Leukaemia Biology Program exploring the most common childhood cancer
- A/Prof David Ziegler who, when not on the wards at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick leads our DIPG research
- Dr Dan Carter, who leads important work in neuroblastoma, the cancer responsible for 15% of childhood cancer deaths.
Dr Carter said he is very thankful for the grant.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to identify new therapies for children with cancer”.
Neuroblastoma and CBL0137
Dan’s research builds on previous ground-breaking work on anti-cancer drug CBL0137 published last year. This drug inhibits a protein complex called FACT which is a genetic driver of neuroblastoma, massively accelerating tumour development.
CBL0137 is now being tested in a clinical trial against adult cancer and planning is underway for a clinical trial in childhood cancer, including for neuroblastoma. But it won’t work alone.
Combination therapies, using more than one treatment, are usually more successful than single therapies as they target different aspects of tumour growth and formation. CBL0137 is particularly good at enhancing the effect of chemotherapy drugs. But which ones?
Dan will use his grant to, among other things, strategically identify the most effective, safest drugs to test alongside CBL0137. This way, the childhood clinical trials are more likely to succeed in finding new treatments that improve patients’ survival with minimal side-effects.
It’s one, significant step along the way and it’s made possible by grants and community support.
“Hopefully one day, we will develop a cure for all kids with this terrible disease”, Dan said.