Zero Childhood Cancer
The shocking facts
A game-changing approach
Lenity Australia is a proud partner of the Zero Childhood Cancer program: the most exciting childhood cancer initiative ever undertaken in Australia. This innovative program will deliver the nation’s first ever personalised medicine program for children with high-risk or relapsed cancer.
A world-leading initiative led by Children’s Cancer Institute and The Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick (part of The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network), Zero Childhood Cancer uniquely brings together all major Australian clinical and research groups working in childhood cancer. It is an unprecedented collaboration that stands to revolutionise the treatment of childhood cancer.
The program will involve high level collaboration beyond our shores, including major research centres in USA and Europe.
Due to enormous advances in medical research, the overall survival rate for childhood cancer has risen to 80%. However, for children with the most challenging forms of cancer, there is still very little hope.Due to enormous advances in medical research, the overall survival rate for childhood cancer has risen to 80%. However, for children with the most challenging forms of cancer, there is still very little hope.
From bench to bedside
The core research facility for the Zero Childhood Cancer program is located at Children’s Cancer Institute. Childhood cancer research specialists from institutes across Australia will contribute to and share results at every stage of the program.
The clinical trial program is being led by the Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick in conjunction with clinical collaborators in every major city in Australia. Decisions on the precise personalised treatment advised for each child will be agreed by a panel of research and clinical experts representing the best capability and knowledge in Australia, USA and Europe.
Exciting progress to date
The Pilot Study, which commenced in late 2015, was initially planned for 12 young patients. Due to overwhelming demand from clinicians and parents desperate for hope, by the pilot’s end, 58 children had been enrolled.
While the primary aim of the pilot study was to facilitate development and testing of the platform to establish the personalised medicine pipeline, there were some astonishing results for the little patients on the pilot program, including:
10% of patients received a change in diagnosis
15% of patients had a potential genetic cause of cancer identified and were referred to a hereditary cancer clinic
37%of patients received an evidenced-based recommendation for an experimental therapy offering hope where there was previously none.
Of those who do survive, 70% will suffer lifelong impact: from their cancer and the toxic chemotherapy drugs - the best treatment we currently have available.
The challenge in curing every child is that some children have cancers which are resistant to standard therapies. This is because every child, and every cancer, is different.
This is why we need to identify individual treatments for each child.
The national clinical trial of Zero Childhood Cancer was launched in September 2017. Over the next three years, a minimum of 400 Australian children with aggressive cancer will take part in the Zero Childhood Cancer program.
Once it is rolled out across the country, the program will enable every newly diagnosed high-risk child cancer patient in Australia, and every child that relapses following treatment, to have their therapy tailored to their specific disease and their individual genetic characteristics. This national trial will generate an ongoing evidence base that this approach to personalised therapy has the potential to improve outcomes, reduce the burden to the healthcare system, and drive advances in standard best practices.
The Zero Childhood Cancer program will revolutionise the way treatment decisions about childhood cancer will be made.
What is Lenity's involvement
Lenity has pledged $1,000,000 of which 50% will be dedicated to research, and 50% towards provision of treatment.