Prestigious Commonwealth investment heralds a new era in childhood cancer treatment
March 3, 2014
Children’s Cancer Institute is proud to announce its personalised medicine program for children with cancer as a key partner of the newly-funded Cancer Therapeutics Cooperative Research Centre (CTx).
CTx, a collaboration of leading national and international cancer research organisations from the academic, industry and health sectors, has received funding of $34 million from the federal government, which will be matched by cash and in-kind contributions of approximately $89 million from its 17 industry, research institute and university participants.
“This is a quantum leap that will substantially enhance the childhood cancer research environment and will ultimately impact the way children are treated for this terrible disease,” said Professor Michelle Haber AM, Executive Director, Children’s Cancer Institute.
“This partnership means we can improve the development and targeting of new therapies for children with cancer and take the next step in our research into personalising treatment for each child.
“We know a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to treating children with cancer does not work, especially for those unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with the most aggressive cancers.
“Most people don’t realise that childhood cancer is different from adult cancer – it has different causes, occurs in different tissues and behaves differently, and therefore requires differently tailored treatments.
“Personalised medicine is the key to improving survival rates for children with cancer and giving them the best possible quality of life. With this funding, we are ideally positioned to accelerate this program, by targeting the use of new and existing drugs most effectively to the biology of each child’s cancer, to maximise the likelihood of successful treatment outcomes.”
CTx works closely with researchers, oncologists and the pharmaceutical industry to address the current challenges of a lack of effective drugs, escalating costs and increasingly lengthy delays in drug approvals.
“Large pharmaceutical companies generally don’t focus their research on drug discoveries for childhood cancers,” continued Professor Haber.
“This partnership with CTx will enhance our ability to develop safer, more effective drugs for children with cancer and to increasingly translate our research into clinical practice, by working closely with clinicians at Sydney Children’s Hospital Network and throughout the country.
“We look forward to generating more support from the government and the community for our personalised medicine program – which will be based on an entirely new level of collaboration that will establish a seamless integration of research into clinical practice.”
Children’s Cancer Institute
Children’s Cancer Institute is the only independent medical research institute in Australia devoted to research into the causes, better treatments, prevention and cure of childhood cancer. Our vision is to save the lives of all children with cancer and eliminate their suffering. Founded in 1976 by a dedicated group of parents and doctors who wanted to do something more in the fight against children’s cancer, Children’s Cancer Institute opened its first laboratory in 1984. The Institute, located at the Lowy Cancer Research Centre at UNSW Australia (UNSW), now employs just under 200 staff and students, including nearly 150 scientists. Research at Children’s Cancer Institute comprises a multifaceted approach to improving the outcome for childhood cancer sufferers. Our research programs focus on translational research aimed at defining and achieving improved treatment and survival rates for children with cancer.
Children’s Cancer Institute is affiliated with UNSW and Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, and is a member of the Kids Cancer Alliance.
Cooperative Research Centres program
The Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) program is an Australian Government Initiative administered by AusIndustry, a division within the Department of Industry.
The CRC program supports medium to long-term end user driven research collaborations to address major challenges facing Australia. CRCs pursue solutions to these challenges that are innovative, of high impact and capable of being effectively deployed by the end users.
Details of the complete results of the 16th Selection Round can be found at:http://minister.innovation.gov.au/ministers/macfarlane/media-releases/driving-research-and-delivering-results-australia
Cancer Therapeutics CRC (CTx)
CTx is translating innovative Australian cancer biology research into preclinical stage drug candidates with high commercial potential. These candidates are chosen for their ability to better target cancer cells rather than normal healthy cells, to improve clinical outcomes and to produce large healthcare system efficiencies. CTx undertakes programs in the research areas of bioactive discovery, lead generation and lead optimisation.
The new extended partnership is comprised of the following organisations:
Alchemia Limited, Bionomics Limited, The Cancer Council of Victoria, Cancer Trials Australia, Children’s Cancer Institute Australia for Medical Research, Clinical Genomics Pty Ltd, CSIRO, Griffith University, INCResearch Australia Pty Ltd, Medicines Development Limited, Melbourne Health, Monash University, National Cancer Centre Singapore, Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute, SYNthesis Research Pty Ltd, Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre Ltd (VCCC) and The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.
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.