Banking on better treatments for childhood cancer

Children like Lachy are benefiting from our coordinated research and clinical care programs.

Every year about 1000 young Australians are diagnosed with cancer and 5600 are undergoing treatment. Any cancer diagnosis is heart-wrenching, but for children it seems profoundly unfair. 

By better understanding genetic variability in paediatric cancer patients, researchers can improve treatments, survival rates and quality of life for children with cancer. 

Led by Hudson Institute of Medical Research and funded by the Children’s Cancer Foundation, the Hudson-Monash Paediatric Precision Medicine Program (HMPPMP) brings together Victoria’s leading childhood cancer researchers and clinicians to improve patient outcomes and train the next generation of paediatric cancer scientists and clinicians. 

The program has developed a world-leading biobank – a collection of tissue samples – which allows researchers to work with real-life cancer cells. 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. 

HMPPMP’s Head of Research, Associate Professor Ron Firestein, says every child’s tumour is genetically unique and responds to cancer treatment in a different way. 

“This forward-thinking program has enabled scientists and clinicians to collaborate and build critical information into childhood cancer treatment pipelines,” he says. 

“This year, the team has identified a number of promising therapeutic targets for paediatric brain cancers and sarcomas using sophisticated genetic and drug screens.” 

Your gift today can help improve the lives of children like Lachy and Jack.


From the issue…

Feature article

Lachy's story