A re-elected Morrison Government will commit $9.6 million to ensure children with cancer have the best chance in survival through a range of clinical trials and research projects.

The funding from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Emerging Priorities and Consumer Driven Research (EPCD) initiative will be provided to the Children’s Cancer Foundation to ensure that every Australian child has access to the world’s best childhood cancer treatments and to establish both Melbourne and Australia as global leaders in childhood cancer research.

$4.8 million will fund the Hudson Monash Paediatric Precision Medicine Program, which involves the establishment of a living biobank of paediatric brain tumours and solid cancers.

This includes lab-grown ‘mini-tumours’ which replicate the patient’s original tumour – to develop personalised treatments which improve survival rates and limit side-effects for childhood cancer patients.

Through this program 150 children diagnosed with brain and central nervous system tumours will also have their tumours analysed to identify clinically relevant molecular alterations and participate in clinical trials to identify the biomarkers and best treatments for each tumour type.

The remaining $4.7 million will fund the following research projects:

  • $637,500 for a research project to improve the effectiveness of treatment in children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia who respond poorly to or relapse following standard-of-care therapy
  • $1,177,055 for 2-year clinical research fellowships that will retain the next generation of oncologists in translational research skills and retaining Australian clinical research talent in this country
  • $176,927 for a project that will use human pluripotent stem cells to model the initiation and transformation of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
  • $879,750 for clinical trial that will provide access to a new drug currently unavailable to Australian children, even on compassionate grounds, to improve survival rates.
  • $283,328 for brain cancer medicine trials
  • $180,066 for clinical trials that may allow safe and effective stem cell transplant from a patient’s parent and for paediatric and adolescent patients with high-risk malignancies
  • $200,000 to develop a rapid and cost-effective clinical tool to determine the medulloblastoma molecular subtype
  • $1,205,705 for a study that aims to understand relapse, improve residual disease detection and develop pre-clinical testing models to identify better therapies for high-risk neuroblastoma patients

Brain cancer kills more children in Australia than any other disease and, despite improvements in patient care and support, survival rates for brain cancer have remained relatively unchanged for the past 30 years.

Clinical trials are the gold standard in treating children with brain cancer. New therapies tested in clinical trials will, over time, contribute to improvements in survival rates.

This commitment complements the work done by the Australian Brain Cancer Mission.

The Mission was established in 2017 by our Government with the goal of doubling survival rates and improving the quality of life of people living with brain cancer over the next decade to 2027, with the longer term aim of defeating brain cancer.

This Mission is a true partnership between the Australian Government, philanthropists, researchers and clinicians, patients and their families and has to date achieved $124.7 million in funding.