Announcement gives hope for childhood cancer with low survival

Announcement gives hope for childhood cancer with low survival

Cancer Australia's funding priorities for 2018 are welcome news for kids' cancer advocates. 

Today Cancer Australia announced funding priorities for the 2018 round of the Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme (PdCCRS) bringing welcome news for childhood cancer research advocates.

The PdCCRS is a national research project grants program that funds cancer research to help reduce the impact of the disease in the community while improving outcomes for people affected by it. This year, new funding categories for the scheme focus on childhood cancers of low survival, and include a Young Investigator grant in the field.

Read more: It takes two, and sometimes many more.

Several prominent national funding bodies are proud partners of the scheme including The Kids’ Cancer Project, a charitable organisation that firmly believes in fostering collaboration between all cancer researchers to build Australia’s cancer research capacity. Owen Finegan, CEO of The Kids’ Cancer Project, is thrilled with the partnership with Cancer Australia and the news that more funding will be directed toward addressing the charity’s own funding priorities.

The Kids’ Cancer Project has provided $730,000 in grants to several studies which has led to $2.2 million of collaborative research funding with PdCCRS and other partners,” he said.

Overall, the PdCCRS has given us the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded organisations to ensure some very exciting scientific investigations have been able to commence,” said Finegan.“These studies will have greatest impact on helping kids with many different types of cancer.

Low survival cancers in children are identified as brain and central nervous system tumour types. Brain cancer is currently the disease that causes more Australian children to die than any other.

Just one of the studies The Kids’ Cancer Project is currently collaborating with the PdCCRS to progress is with Dr Nick Gottardo of Telethon Kids Institute in Western Australia. The is specifically focussed on the treatment of medulloblastoma, the most common childhood brain cancer.

Read more: In Focus: Telethon Kids Institute.

Survival rates for childhood brain cancer have stagnated at a level well below that of other childhood cancers, such as leukaemia,” said Dr Gottardo.

The marked improvements in survival for childhood leukaemia have come about through a combination of laboratory and clinical research, he said. By applying the same principles to brain cancer we will change the status quo and significantly improve the outcomes of children affected by these dreadful diseases.

More information about the 2018 PdCCRS can be found on the Cancer Australia website.