Posted On: December 26, 2018
2018 has been an exciting year for childhood cancer research. Here is a list our most-shared news stories that we published throughout the year.
- In the pursuit to cure kids’ cancer, scientists have long dreamed of a ‘magic bullet’ to eliminate diseased cells without harming healthy tissue. In this story published in May, we wrote how Professor Maria Kavallaris and her team at Children’s Cancer Institute in Sydney discovered a way to treat deadly neuroblastoma.
It was a story that caught some people by surprise. Dr Luciano Dalla-Pozza said he wanted to put Col Reynolds, founder of The Kids’ Cancer Project, out of a job. The popular paediatric oncologist wrote an open letter expressing is pain at being unable to cure all children of cancer. But it was also a message of hope, as he wrote, “ I’d like to think children one day will learn about cancer in a history book.”
Published in January 2018, this story made global headlines. In a laboratory studydeveloped a blood test
And while the idea of a simple single blood test on those common cancers will take time to translate into practice, the findings, like any breakthrough, showed that science can produce solutions which will lead to survival.
The efforts of a team of researchers from Melbourne were almost a decade in the making, requiring strong collaboration between experts in cancer research, medicinal chemistry and drug discovery. And while very, very real, the findings had a fairy tale ring about them as Associate Professor Voss from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute explained; “Rather than causing potentially dangerous DNA damage, as chemotherapy and radiotherapy do, this new class of anti-cancer drugs simply puts cancer cells into a permanent sleep.”
Findings of a study published in JAMA Neurology in August 2018 stated that symptoms reported by 121 childhood cancer survivors included numb lower limbs, a loss of dexterity in the hands and difficulties with balance. It was solid research raising awareness of the burden on young survivors and the need for kinder, more effective treatments.
Researchers at Western Australia’s Telethon Kids Institute were thrilled to have pre-clinical results suggesting they had very possibly unlocked a vital key to understanding childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
“To date, the main strategy for cancer therapy in children has focused on targeting malignant cells with chemotherapy, which is toxic for the leukaemia cells but also toxic for the patient,” said Dr Cheung. “Our finding that the cells surrounding the leukaemia cells can contribute to treatment failure or success has led to a paradigm shift.”
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