May is Brain Cancer Awareness Month and The Kids’ Cancer Project is proudly supporting research into better treatments and cures for all types of brain cancer.
“We’ve invested more than $5 million into brain cancer research either directly helping kids now through a clinical trial or indirectly by facilitating research through a Tumour Bank,” said Owen Finegan Chief Executive of The Kids’ Cancer Project.
“Brain cancer can be a deadly disease and we strongly support research that will increase a child’s chance of survival, improve the treatment options available and that also reduce or minimise the side effects treatment can bring,” Finegan said.
Brain tumours and cancers are grouped in to what are also known as Central Nervous System (CNS) Tumours which include all cancers of the brain and spinal cord.
CNS Tumours include: Astrocytomas, Craniopharyngioma, Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), Ependymoma, Germ Cell Tumours, Gliomas, PNET tumours – Medulloblastoma and Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumour (AT/RT).
CNS tumours have the highest mortality rate of all childhood cancers, with about 140 new cases diagnosed in Australia every year among 0-24 year olds.
Read more: Connor's story.
CNS tumours are difficult to treat due to the Blood to Brain Barrier. The Brain is the only organ that has its own security system, this security system allows essential nutrients to the brain and blocks toxins or infections that would go through the vascular system.
Unfortunately, this barrier also prevents life-saving drugs like chemotherapy drugs from getting to a brain tumour. As a result, there are limited options for patients and other treatments are needed to fight the cancer like radiation therapy and invasive surgeries.
The Kids’ Cancer Project funds six research projects into finding better ways of treating childhood brain cancer.
“We need to think smarter and develop better therapies that are more targeted against brain cancer,” said Dr Nick Gottardo the Head of Brain Tumour Research Program at Telethon Kids’ Institute WA.
Novel Therapies for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG)
Funding from The Kids’ Cancer Project supports Dr David Ziegler’s project, which focuses on the development of a new drug that can target DIPG cells specifically, causing them to die. Learn more.
Gene Therapy Trial
This unique strategy has the potential to lead to a more effective treatment as it could allow higher doses of chemotherapy and a greater impact on their tumour without the harmful side effects on the bone marrow. Learn more.
Improving cure rates for childhood brain cancer
The two-year project aims to make the current chemotherapy more effective from the start of the treatment with the ultimate goal of relying less on radiotherapy which causes toxicity and long term side effects. Learn more.
New therapeutic targets for paediatric medulloblastoma
Dr Day aims to determine what function Eph receptors have in medulloblastoma cells and whether they can be used as new therapeutic targets. Learn more.
Personalised Medicine Zero Childhood Cancer
The program, established by the Children’s Cancer Institute and Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick (part of The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network), will involve the detailed laboratory analysis of each child's unique cancer cells, to help identify the drugs most likely to kill their specific cancer. Learn more.
The Tumour Bank at the Children's Hospital at Westmead (CHW) allows researchers to translate the biological information from the specimens into knowledge for better diagnosis and treatment of paediatric cancer patients.
Thanks to community support, The Kids’ Cancer Project is funding research to increase a child’s chance of surviving and improving treatment options while also reducing or minimising the side effects treatment can bring.
 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2015. ACIM (Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality) Books. AIHW: Canberra. 2012 Male & Female new cases figure (2012).
 Childhood Cancer Incidence in Australia 1983 – 2006 – Cancer Council QLD – published in December 2009.
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