Federal budget: A step in the right direction

Federal budget: A step in the right direction

Australian Government announces $10.8 million to childhood cancer in the 2017-2018 budget.

The Kids’ Cancer Project welcomes the Australian Government’s announcement of $10.8 million to childhood cancer in the 2017-2018 Budget.

  • $4.4m provided to Cancer Australia for research aimed at increasing Australia’s capacity to diagnose, treat, manage and analyse childhood cancer.
  • An additional $1.4m to fast track international research collaborations, including support for new clinical trials led by the Australia New Zealand Children’s Haematology and Oncology Group (ANZCHOG), including support for diagnostic profiling.

“The investment will be directed to funding clinical research and trials," said Owen Finegan, Chief Executive of The Kids’ Cancer Project. "This is something our own organisation is committed to, and we will continue to fund the breakthroughs that can be made in finding less harmful treatments and better outcomes for the hundreds of Australian children diagnosed with cancer each year,” he said.

Select Committee into Funding for Research into Cancers with Low Survival​

The Kids’ Cancer Project's recent senate submission highlighted a significant lack of sustainable funding for research, clinical trial infrastructure and access with a large reliance on philanthropic funding.

The philosophy of the global childhood cancer community to adopt clinical research as a standard care is the single most important factor contributing to the dramatic improvements in survival rates for children with cancer over the past forty years.

The Kids’ Cancer Project has committed over $34 million to childhood cancer research over 24 years and has also invested into clinical trial initiatives through the Australian and New Zealand Children’s Haematology Oncology Group (ANZCHOG) since 2015.

"We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Cancer Australia moving forward on projects they will be leading," Finegan said. 

Indeed, the charity announced in December 2016 that they had committed $600,000 to Cancer Australia’s Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme (PdCCRS) over three years. This has led to an investment of $1,800,000 into research projects in neuroblastoma, brain tumours and leukaemia. 

“The increase in federal funding will continue this initial work of The Kids’ Cancer Project and ANZCHOG to further fast track international research collaborations of childhood cancers in Australia,” said Finegan.

The additional Government funding announced in the Federal Budget on 9 May 2017 will fast track the diagnosis, treatment, management and analysis of childhood cancer to improve outcomes for all childhood cancers including low survival cancers.

The funding also includes:

  • $5m provided under the Medical Research Future Fund in its first year to improve outcomes for children and young people undergoing treatment for cancer.

The budget also announced a commitment to Australia's first proton beam therapy centre will be built in Adelaide at a cost of $68m benefitting children with brain cancer and other tumours located close to vital organs.

Further improvements in survival rates and optimisation of the quality of survival are likely to come from an increased focus of research into the introduction of a new generation of molecularly targeted anti-cancer therapies, which will need to be researched and tested in collaborative clinical trials.

“The Kids’ Cancer Project will continue to work with ANZCHOG, Cancer Australia and the Federal Government to increase its focus and funding into childhood cancer research, increasing access to clinical trials and encouraging the understanding of the needs of the childhood cancer community. We look forward to sharing the successful applicants from our 2017 funding round shortly,” said Finegan.