In Australia, three children die from cancer each week. But doctors and researchers say they have a “game-changing” plan to drive the death rate down to zero.
The Children’s Cancer Institute and the Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital announced on Monday the launch of a national clinical trial, in which scientists and doctors will work together to personalise treatments for children with the highest risk of treatment failure or relapse.
They’re expecting to enrol more than 400 children with cancers such as brain tumours, sarcomas and neuroblastomas in the Zero Childhood Cancer program over the next three years.
“I truly believe the Zero Childhood Cancer program is a potential game-changer,” said Professor Tracey O’Brien, director of the Kids Cancer Centre in Randwick.
“The scale and sophistication of translating a discovery directly to the patient’s bedside is unprecedented.”
In an Australian first, scientists from 13 leading research institutes and doctors from all eight kids cancer centres across the country will work together to design the best treatment plan for each patient.
Professor Michelle Haber AM, executive director of the Children’s Cancer Institute, said personalised medicine gave each child the best chance of survival because it was based on reliable scientific information, such as individual genetic mutations, unique to that child’s cancer.
– Esther Han
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