Major Investment Made to Find Treatments for Children With Cancer

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    CHILDREN who survive cancer are being left with lifelong health problemsalmost as debilitating as the disease they conquered so $4.5 million is beingspent on new research to discover less invasive treatments.

    Now aged 24, the Sydney student is training to become a child cancer nurse butlives in constant pain after her cancer treatment left her with dead bonesfibromyalgia, scarring of the lungs and brain and damaged heart valves.

    Around 1,500 Australian children a year are receiving active treatment forcancer, or are at risk of relapse and it is the largest disease related killer ofchildren.

    Seventy per cent of long-term childhood cancer survivors live with chronichealth problems including secondary cancer, infertility, cardiomyopathy andpoor mental health.

    Professor Murray Norris and his team at Children’s Cancer Institute will receivefunding to extend their work on molecular targeted therapies, expected toimprove treatment options and survival rates for children with acutelymphoblastic leukaemia.

    Another project is looking at using nano particles to deliver chemotherapy directto the cancer site to reduce the side effects of the treatment in children.

    Children who develop leukaemia when they are aged less than a year old havevery poor outcomes and Professor Norri’s team has identified three moleculesthat kill their cancer cells in the laboratory, these will be tested in animals withthe new funding.

    A fifth project funded by the Cancer Council will look at children who haverelapsed and try and find new therapies for them.

    Professor Karen Canfell, Director of Cancer Research at Cancer Council NSWsaid that the program grants are allocated to some of the nation’s bestresearchers, where the biggest gains can be made in cancer research.

    As a result of the funding we’ve received from Cancer Council NSW, our teamhas developed six separate programs that focus on meeting these needsthrough re-engagement with cancer follow-up, healthy lifestyle, and mental andsocial wellbeing. We are also establishing New Australian resources for familymembers, friends and health care professionals“, said A/Prof Wakefield.

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