Victorian Paediatric Cancer Consortium

Hudson Institute of Medical Research is a co-leader of the Victorian Paediatric Cancer Consortium (VPCC), alongside The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH), Monash Children’s Hospital (MCH), Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), Monash University, University of Melbourne, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) and the Children’s Cancer Foundation.

Victorian Paediatric Cancer Consortium team
Victorian Paediatric Cancer Consortium team

VPCC brings together leading children’s hospitals, medical research institutes and universities, each with unique capabilities in paediatric cancer research and clinical care. VPCC enables a state-wide, multidisciplinary, and collaborative approach to combatting childhood cancers, with the goal of improving outcomes for children and adolescents with cancer through world-class medical research and innovation. Learn more about VPCC.

Next Generation Precision Medicine Program

A flagship research program of VPCC is the Next Generation Precision Medicine Program, led by Hudson Institute’s Professor Ron Firestein who is clinician-scientist and the Head of the Centre for Cancer Research at Hudson Institute.

There is an urgent need for new and more precisely targeted medicines to treat childhood cancers. Currently, genomic sequencing is used to identify discrete mutations that could predict a child’s responses to targeted therapies. But fewer than one in five children with cancer are found to have actionable mutations. And of those children, only half respond to the therapies that are available.

New treatment options are needed, particularly for paediatric cancers that have the poorest survival rates (ie; brain and soft tissue tumours).

The Next Generation Precision Medicine Program is focused on

  • Generating novel models of childhood cancers that faithfully represent a patient’s tumour
  • Characterising those models at a multi-omics level (genome, transcriptome, epigenome, proteome) to find what makes them unique
  • Using comprehensive functional genomic screens that can identify the genetic drivers and dependencies of low-survival paediatric cancers
  • Developing a childhood cell line atlas and data portal to enable cohort-level integrative genomic analyses.

This program has created the Childhood Cancer Model Atlas (CCMA): the largest collection of high-risk paediatric solid tumour cell lines in the world and one of the most valuable resources available now for childhood cancer researchers globally. The CCMA provides a collection of well annotated and characterised models of childhood cancer with associated functional genomics screens. It includes a searchable data portal that can be accessed by scientists and researchers worldwide.Precise, detailed data like this helps researchers to collaborate globally and drive clinical translation to help sick children. Learn more about VPCC Next Generation Precision Medicine Program.

Risk Stratification – Sarcomas Program

Sarcomas are a rare type of cancer that originate in the connective tissue of the body, which includes fat, muscle, bone and cartilage. Sarcomas can develop anywhere in the body and are one of the most common types of solid tumours in children.

Survival rates for childhood sarcomas haven’t improved in more than 40 years.

The VPCC Risk Stratification -Sarcomas project – led by Hudson Institute’s Dr Jason Cain – is focused on finding molecular signatures that predict a child’s response to therapy, risk of metastasis and survival outcomes. Identifying these factors would enable clinicians to stratify children’s risk in the future, and then adapt therapies to minimise side effects and improve overall outcomes.

As a Research Group Head in the Centre for Cancer Research at Hudson Institute, Dr Cain leads research mainly on paediatric sarcomas (malignant rhabdoid tumours and osteosarcomas), diffuse midline gliomas and lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD). Learn more about VPCC Risk Stratification Sarcomas Program.

VPCC Co-Leads

Professor Ron Firestein, Hudson Institute
Professor David Eisenstat, The Royal Children’s Hospital and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
Program Manager, Eliza Metcalfe
Director of Operations, Naama Neeman

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


Children's cancer foundation logo
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Logo
Murdoch Children's Research Institute Logo
Monash Children's Hospital Logo
Monash University Logo
The Royal Children's Hospital Logo
Th University of Melbourne Logo


Naama Neeman
VPCC, Director of Operations