Childhood cancer

Cancer kills more children in Australia than any other disease. 

Each year almost 1,000 Australian children are diagnosed with cancer and 5,600 are undergoing treatment.

For every ten children diagnosed, two will not survive; and most children who survive cancer will suffer long-term (sometimes life-long) health issues due to current therapies. Current childhood cancer treatments are inadequate and can leave developing children with devastating, life-long side effects. More precise, safer treatments for children with cancer are needed to improve survival and reduce adverse treatment impact.

Hudson Institute is a world leader in the field, building capacity and sustainability for paediatric cancer research by cultivating local, national and international partnerships, supporting educational events and training the childhood cancer leaders of tomorrow.

Our research

Generating world-class childhood cancer research

Hudson Institute is a proud partner in the Victorian Paediatric Cancer Consortium (VPCC) which brings together Victoria’s leading research, academic and clinical organisations, working to make life better for kids with cancer through world-class medical research and innovation. The VPCC is co-led by Hudson’s Professor Ron Firestein and Professor David Eisenstat, Head of the Children’s Cancer Centre at The Royal Children’s Hospital and Neuro-Oncology Group Leader at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. Together, the VPCC’s researchers, doctors and families of kids with cancer can deliver research with real-world impact, better medical care, and improved training for the researchers and clinicians of the future.

The VPCC was made possible by the tireless efforts of the Children’s Cancer Foundation and funding from the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF). 

Childhood brain cancer

There are approximately 80 different types of malignant (cancerous) brain tumours that occur in children, and 190 children are diagnosed with childhood brain cancer each year in Australia.

The VPCC Next Generation Precision Medicine program aims to significantly improve the treatment, survival and quality of life for children with cancer, with a special focus on brain cancer.

With funding from the Children’s Cancer Foundation since 2017 and additional funding from the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) from 2021, Next Generation Precision Medicine has established one of the largest biobank repositories of childhood cancer models in the world.  Now, using state-of-the art functional genomic and multi-dimensional profiling technologies, the biobank is being used to develop the next generation of precision oncology treatments for paediatric cancer patients. 

Brain Cancer Atlas Project – a platform for identifying the next generation of targeted therapies

This project brings together an international team of clinicians, researchers and data bioinformaticians to

Associate Professor Ron Firestein from the Cancer Genetics and Functional Genomics Research Group at Hudson Institute

  1. Develop and characterise new models of adult, adolescent and childhood brain cancers
  2. Conduct functional screens (CRISPR, drug screens) to identify genetic vulnerabilities and dependencies in brain cancer
  3. Utilise computational approaches (eg; machine-based learning) to predict therapeutic responses based on molecular features.

Identification of pathway dependencies in childhood brain tumours

Childhood cancer collaborators

Support for families and children with cancer

Our scientists cannot provide medical advice.
If you would like to find out more information about childhood cancer, please visit

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