Cancer is the major cause of disease-related death in Australian children.
Professor Byrne and Dr Luciano Dalla-Pozza talk about this study.
While most cases of childhood cancer have been blamed on bad luck, at least 30 per cent may arise through patients possessing one or more ‘faulty’ genes. Despite this, predisposition testing is not currently offered to every Australian child cancer patient, or their family members.
Funding for this project will allow an examination of an unparalleled cohort of childhood cancer patients and families that will include both retrospectively and prospectively identified cases. The research team will perform next-generation sequencing of normal DNA to identify new genetic variants that could be associated with increased cancer risk, as well as genetic changes already known to contribute to increased cancer risk in both expected and novel cancer contexts.
This project stands to substantially extend understanding of the genetic basis of childhood cancer, and will lay the foundation for a comprehensive national screening program.