The Zero Childhood Cancer Program (ZERO), which has been supported by The Kids’ Cancer Project since 2015, is being expanded to all Australian's aged 0 to 18 years with any type of cancer.
The expansion of ZERO is thanks to a $67 million investment from the Australian Government and Minderoo Foundation. This massive boost in funding means that now, any Australian child diagnosed with cancer will be able to benefit from life changing DNA sequencing − not only influencing diagnosis but also prognosis and treatment strategies.
In 2015 The Kids’ Cancer Project began its funding to establish the initial framework of the personalised medicine platform that was to become the Zero Childhood Cancer Program.
That funding was used to efficiently identify and recommend personalised therapy for children diagnosed with high-risk malignancies or patients who had relapsed whilst undergoing standard treatments. By combining the molecular genomics profile and screening results to predict a treatment response, the program was able to recommend a clinically actionable timeframe to oncologists to improve their patient’s chances of survival.
Speaking about one of the most exciting Australian childhood cancer programs, The Kids’ Cancer Project’s CEO, Owen Finegan firstly thanked the charity’s supporters for helping make the program possible in the first place:
“The Kids’ Cancer project donors across Australia should be proud of their support – I would like to emphatically thank you for your commitment to improving cancer treatments for kids.
“Over almost a decade, your support has allowed millions of dollars of investment into the ZERO program, and helped it get to a stage where it can attract enormous, and very deserved government support.
“We’re immensely proud to hear the Zero Childhood Cancer Program has been very rightly expanded to all Australians under the age of 18, by the end of 2023.”
Every year in Australia, almost 900 kids are diagnosed with cancer, many of them are aggressive, hard to treat and have a high risk of mortality. Although the survival rates have improved greatly for some cancers, others still take a heavy toll on our young peoples’ lives.
ZERO, Australia’s world leading precision medicine program for children with cancer, will this month begin a progressive expansion to become available to all Australians kids with cancer, by the end of the year. Leading paediatric oncologist, Professor David Ziegler, said:
“In ZERO’s first national precision medicine trial, we saw some very promising results in children with the highest risk cancers. Some children are alive today who would have died had they not been enrolled, while some others had precious months added to their life by changing their treatments.”
The aim of the Zero Childhood Cancer Program is not only to help give doctors better treatment options for their patients, but to also improve our understanding of childhood cancer overall.
Identifying the specific genetic changes that cause childhood cancers is key to the development of new targeted treatments. And thanks to the kindness of donors like you, The Kids’ Cancer Project is now able to fund the research which leads to those lifesaving new treatments. Owen Finegan continued to say:
“Every child and every cancer are different. That is why the traditional ‘one size fits all’ approach to childhood cancer treatment is simply not good enough.
“This program has exceeded expectations, saving and changing the lives of young Australians. The announcement that the Zero precision medicine program will be expanding to include all young Australians is an exciting step towards The Kids’ Cancer Project achieving our vision of 100% survival for children with cancer while eradicating the harmful impacts that treatment can bring.”
Thank you for everything you do to support The Kids’ Cancer Project – your generosity is truly vital to making lifesaving projects like ZERO a reality.