2017 has been an extraordinarily successful year for the Institute, a year in which we launched the National Clinical Trial for the Zero Childhood Cancer program in conjunction with the Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick. We have also achieved tremendous grant funding success, significant fundraising support and finessed our strategic plan for 2018-2022 that will ensure our continued progress towards our vision of one day curing every child with cancer,
This year, we delivered on a number of key strategic goals and embarked upon multiple new initiatives. We are now reaping the benefits of the platforms, programs, partnerships and collaborations we established over the last few years, and this year we again set new records for both research grants and fundraising. Our success in 2017, outlined in our Annual Review, has put us in a better position than ever to translate our research as quickly as possible from our lab benches to the bedsides of children, to improve the outcomes for children.
Our 2017 highlights include:
- Starting in January and across the year, we focused on refining our strategic direction that will bring us closer to one day curing every child. With the external Strategic Plan 2018-2022 launch in early 2018.
- In February, our research into new drug treatments for neuroblastoma received a Program Grant of $6.6 million over five years from National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to conduct substantial research to find more effective targeted treatments for neuroblastoma, and then take those treatments to clinical trials.
- Before March, three grants totalling almost $1.3 million were awarded from NSW Government to research from Children's Cancer Institute to investigate mew treatments for neuroblastoma, including 12 early career fellowships and six career development fellowships, as well as a translational program grant.
- In June, we were honoured that Director Professor Michelle Haber AM was recognised as a research finalist for 2017 Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Leadership in Innovation and Science.
- Our inaugural Diamond Ball Melbourne helped us raise over $358K, in July, to support our research through further developing our Victorian supporter networks.
- In August, Minster for Health Greg Hunt MP, hosted Australia's most significant ever meeting to urgently improve brain cancer's unacceptable low survival rates with Children's Cancer Institute along with other global research leaders, and major philanthropists.
- To launch International Childhood Cancer Awareness month in September, we partnered with The Kids' Cancer Project and The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network in lighting up the sails of the Sydney Opera house in gold to raise awareness for childhood cancer research.
- September also marked our launch of Zero Childhood Cancer program's national clinical trial in conjunction with the Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick. In an Australian first, scientists from 17 leading Australian and international research institutes and doctors from all eight of Australia's Paediatric oncology centres are working together to identify and recommend new treatment options specifically tailored to suit the individual cancer of each child with aggressive cancer.
- In October, Professor Maria Kavallaris won an award for 'Leadership in Innovation in NSW' at the 2017 NSW Premier's Prize for Science and Engineering.
- A landmark moment or brain cancer research happened in October, the Australian Government established a $100 million fund. With the aim to double survival rates and improve the quality of life of patients with brain cancer over the next 10 years. The Australian Government will contribute $50 million under the Medical Research Future Fund and seek matching contributions from philanthropy, other governments, industry and the private sector.
- In December, our researchers developed a new risk scoring system for children with leukaemia based on missing DNA fragments or 'microdeletions' . The risk score will allow doctors to better predict the chance of relapse of a subgroup of kids currently hidden in a lower risk group.
- Our fundraising income in 2017 increased by 36% to an extraordinary $17.3 million.
- In 2017, 79 cents of every dollar spent within the Institute was spent directly on dedicated research to help cure childhood cancer.