Professor Brandon Wainwright is the latest researcher to be awarded funding from The Kids’ Cancer Project in collaboration with the Perpetual IMPACT Philanthropy program.
At the end of 2017, The Kids’ Cancer Project, an independent national charity, presented an application to Perpetual on behalf of Professor Wainwright for his study into new therapies for incurable paediatric brain tumours.
The Wainwright laboratory, located at the University of Queensland Institute of Molecular Bioscience, has discovered that a drug which has recently been approved to treat women with late stage breast cancer can be repurposed to great effect to treat medulloblastoma in children.
It was a great discovery, but in order to take the findings from the bench to the bedside in a clinical trial more work must be done.
Read More: New Therapies for Incurable Paediatric Brain Tumours
“In order to progress the results to an international trial, further laboratory experiments need to be performed to test how the drug works in combination with standard therapy, which in this case is chemotherapy,” Professor Wainwright explained.
The Kids’ Cancer Project Chief Executive, Owen Finegan, championed the application for funding and was jubilant with a successful $137,000 grant from Perpetual IMPACT Philanthropy to which the charity added almost $80,000 more to enable the Wainwright lab to progress their work until December 2019.
“Brain tumours are the most common cause of cancer related death in adolescents, children and infants,” he said. “Despite advances in many fields of cancer treatments, overall survival in paediatric brain tumours has remained static for the last 30 years.”
“This is our 25th year of funding science to help kids with many different types of cancers,” said Mr Finegan. “We remain stalwart in our efforts to improve survival and while eradicating the harmful effects treatment can bring.”
Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant paediatric brain tumour. The effects of current treatments including radiotherapy and chemotherapy have devastating effects on the growing brain.
Fewer one in 20 long-term survivors are capable of leading independent lives due to intellectual disability and a variety of other side effects such as peripheral neuropathy and deafness.
Perpetual, the ASX-listed financial services company, has a long history of philanthropy and are the executor for approximately 1,000 charitable trusts and endowments. Each year their clients distribute more than $100 million to not-for-profit organisations.
Caitriona Fay, National Manager Philanthropy, at Perpetual is delighted to direct the support of her clients to research through The Kids’ Cancer Project, and has done so for several years.
“The philanthropists Perpetual works with are passionate about funding organisations and programs that address some of our most pressing health, social and environmental challenges,” said Ms Fay.
“We’re delighted to see continued support for The Kids’ Cancer Project work around incurable paediatric brain tumours,” said Ms Fay. “Investment in this space is critical to improving outcomes for children with cancer.”
At the beginning of the last financial year, The Kids’ Cancer Project were successful in applying for support through Perpetual for Professor Jennifer Byrne and Dr Luciano Dalla-Pozza of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and their study into next-generation sequencing to identify gene mutation in childhood cancer patients.
“Our client’s commitment to IMPACT means we can support projects others might consider too high risk or that are typically harder to attract support for,” she said.