The winning projects include laboratory studies as well as clinical trials across a variety of childhood cancers such as acute myeloid leukaemia (blood cancer), sarcoma (bone cancer), and high-grade paediatric gliomas (brain cancer).
Two of the studies will be investigating the late effects of cancer treatment on growing bodies in the hope of providing overall better outcomes for children diagnosed with the disease.
In total ten successful projects have been awarded a share of more than $2.6 million over the next three years to help further understanding about childhood cancer and develop cures that are kinder and more effective in order to bring about 100 percent survival of all Australian children diagnosed.
Each month in Australia, approximately 90 children aged 0 – 19 years of age are diagnosed with cancer. As many as 90 percent of kids who survive will develop one or more chronic health conditions as a result of treatment.
“Australians know we have to do better for kids diagnosed with cancer,” says Owen. “So it is with great pride we can make this announcement after the groundswell of community support that has come through our national fundraising event The Better Challenge.”
“In fact, every one of the 3,000 participants in the challenge, and the donors who supported them, can share in that pride, knowing that they are contributing to finding cures of kids’ cancers,” says Owen.
In awarding the grants, The Kids’ Cancer Project engages an expert Research Advisory Committee (RAC) to independently review all submissions and score them against key criteria. The RAC present their recommendations to The Kids’ Cancer Project Board who make the final decision on the studies to be funded each financial year.
“As interesting it is to celebrate and announce all the winning grants,” says Owen, “It’s important to note there were many more applications deserving of award but missed out due to our funding capability this financial year.”
“This makes the ongoing support of the community critical – whether they be corporate partners, fundraisers, donors or people leaving a bequest in their Will.”
“Government funding stretches only so far, it’s up to the Australian public and business community to pick up the shortfall to help fund scientific work that has the greatest chance of clinical success.”
Winners of The Kids’ Cancer Project FY22 Grant Round
Professor Nick Gottardo, Telethon Kids Institute, “Enhancing radiation therapy using brain specific immunotherapy to improve survival outcomes for children with aggressive brain cancer”.
Professor Ricky Johnstone, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, “Targeting altered serine metabolism in MLL-rearranged paediatric AML”.
Professor David Ziegler and Dr Dannielle Upton, Children’s Cancer Institute, “Targeting the thioredoxin system as a novel strategy for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma”.
Associate Professor Matt Dun, The University of Newcastle, “Pharmaco-phospho-proteo-genomics of paediatric high-grade glioma”.
Ms Lauren Ha, School of Health Sciences, UNSW, Behavioural Sciences Unit, Kids Cancer Centre, Sydney Children’s Hospital, “iBounce: A digital health educational program to improve childhood cancer survivors’ self-efficacy to engage in physical activity”.
Professor Irina Vetter, Queensland University of Technology, “Reducing long-term side-effects of chemotherapy in cancer survivors”.
Dr Emmy Fleuren and Dr Emmy Dolman, Children’s Cancer Institute, “Exploiting the DNA damage response in paediatric sarcoma”.
Professor Glenn Marshall, Children’s Cancer Institute, Kids Cancer Centre, Sydney Children’s Hospital, “Simultaneous detection of chemotherapy resistance and targeted agent sensitivity using single cell sequencing of residual malignant tissues as a measure of early sarcoma treatment responses".
Associate Professor Geoff McCowage, Children’s Hospital at Westmead, ANZCHOG, “INTER-EWING-1: INTERnational scientific program in clinical research to improve outcomes of newly diagnosed EWING sarcoma - trial 1".
Dr Jacqui McGovern, Queensland University of Technology, "From bench to bedside – Developing an osteosarcoma precision oncology workflow".