A new way to treat kids’ cancers

18 Oct 2017

University of Queensland researchers have joined forces with 12 Australian and international research institutes to create personalised medicine targeting childhood cancer.

Led by researchers at the Children’s Cancer Institute in Sydney, the Zero Childhood Cancer program is a national clinical trial aiming to develop personalised cancer treatments for children with high-risk or relapsed cancer.

UQ Diamantina Institute’s Dr Andrew Moore is involved in the program as a paediatric oncologist at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital and as director of the Queensland Children’s Tumour Bank.

Dr Andrew Moore
Dr Andrew Moore

“As we increase our understanding of the molecular biology of cancer, and identify the genetic abnormalities in cells which drive them to become cancerous, we can begin to look at therapeutic targets to better treat it,” Dr Moore said.

“Conventional chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery remain important treatments, because they cure the majority of childhood cancers, but are associated with a range of acute and long term side effects.

“If we can gain a better understanding of childhood cancers then we can refine the treatment and provide better, more targeted treatments for patients.”

The clinical trial will enrol more than 400 Australian children over the next three years and use the most advanced diagnostic technologies available to treat them.

“The Zero Childhood Cancer precision medicine trial aims to help children with the most aggressive cancers by identifying molecular abnormalities that can be treated with targeted drugs,” Dr Moore said.

The Tumour Bank processes children’s tumour samples so researchers can perform comprehensive tests in the laboratory, including those to see if targeted drugs can kill the cancer cells.

In addition to the Zero Childhood Cancer program, the Tumour Bank supports clinical trials at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital and collaborates with world-leading researchers nationally and internationally.

In the past year alone, the Tumour Bank has contributed valuable samples to ground-breaking research published in journals such as Nature, Cancer Cell, Lancet Oncology and Leukemia.

Dr Moore is taking part in the ‘1200kms for Kids’ charity bike ride this month, raising funds for the Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Humpty Dumpty Foundation.

The Children’s Hospital Foundation is the primary supporter of the Queensland Children’s Tumour Bank and with the help of 1200kms for Kids will continue to support this important resource.

Dr Moore has been taking part in the ride for the past five years and has raised more than $20,000 for the cause.

This year, Dr Moore will ride 285km over three days from Stanthorpe to Brisbane.

Media: Andrew Moore +61 451 990 290, Andrew.moore@uq.edu.au;  Sam Benger +61 7 3365 5118 s.benger@uq.edu.au