Research

Since 1999 (in our second year) we have been funding vital research into children's cancer.

Throughout Australia, over 900 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer each year. Their survival rate has increased significantly over the past 20 years, and when all cancer types are considered, the survival rate 5 years after diagnosis is 81% for this population group. The improved survival rates, which have occurred despite stable cancer incidence rates, are due to medical and technological advances.

2015 Premier's Award for Outstanding Cancer Research

Excellence in Translation Cancer Research

 

Geoffrey Mccowage

 

Dr Geoffrey McCowage

 

Dr McCowage has been a paediatric oncologist at the Sydney Children's Hospital Network (SCHN) Westmead since 1996. He has a particular clinical interest in neuro-oncology and sarcomas of bone and soft tissue. His current research involves gene transfer with haematopoietic stem cells, focusing on the development of clinical gene therapy trials. Dr McCowage is SCHN Westmead’s Principal Investigator for clinical trials of the international Children's Oncology Group, and is also involved in other clinical trials sponsored by industry and other consortia.

“Gene Therapy provides hope as a viable and innovative approach to the treatment of paediatric brain tumours and alleviation of treatment side effects. The Children’s Cancer Gene Therapy team started a Phase I study in June 2012 for the treatment of paediatric brain tumours using a combined gene therapy/pharmacological approach. The approach involves gene modification of haematopoietic stem cells, so that the cells produce a DNA repair protein and become resistant to the harmful effects of methylating chemotherapy. This trial is a world-first study demonstrating the safety and feasibility of infusing gene-modified haematopoietic stem cells in children.”

We congratulate Dr McCowage on his wonderful achievements. Kids with Cancer Foundation provided some of the funds to start the project in support of the work of Dr McCowage and Peter Gunning when we were asked in 1999 to support a proposal for funding for Gene Therapy from The Children's Hospital at Westmead, we provided $150,000 for the project in that year:

1Gene Therapy Project - Protection of bone marrow stem cells from chemotherapy toxicity

Most of the side effects of cancer chemotherapy occur because the chemotherapy drugs damage the bone marrow. In this project we aim to protect the bone marrow using a gene therapy approach. We are developing techniques to introduce into the bone marrow stem cells a gene named methylguanine methyl transferase. The modified stem cells will then create a chemical, which protects them from the chemotherapy drugsThe modified stem cells would then be given back to the patient as a bone marrow transplant, and hopefully subsequent chemotherapy would have less toxicity since the bone marrow would be protected from the damage which usually occursSo far we have developed a special non-toxic virus, called a vector, which can carry the gene into the stem cells. We have developed techniques for purifying stem cells from bone marrow and strategies for introducing the virus to the stem cellsWe aim now to develop these techniques further to the point of conducting a clinical trialThis is a new and rapidly developing area of translational research - there are very few gene therapy protocols being trialed in Australia - and we hope that by developing this protocol in collaboration with the Gene Therapy Research Unit at The Children's Hospital, that we will be successful in initiating a trial at this hospitalThis is a long-term and ambitious project which involves a full-time research scientist under the direction of Dr Geoffrey McCowage and Professor Peter Gunning.

 

2. Leukemia Project - The role of the novel D52 gene family in human cancer

 

 

Dr Jennifer Byrne, a Research Group Leader within the ORU, has identified a new family of genes, called the D52 family, which are involved in human cancer. Current evidence suggests that these genes may play roles in controlling cell multiplication. Members of this family can be active in leukemia cells, and we wish to examine whether their activity is associated with leukemia. Such associations could indicate that these genes might find future use in leukemia diagnosis. We are also investigating, in a parallel project within the laboratory; whether inducing too much D52 gene activity in a particular tissue can result in this tissue developing cancer. It is envisaged that this project would be of l-year duration and require the expertise of a full-time Clinical Research Fellow  


 

Kids with Cancer Foundation's (KWCF) impact on our Hospital (Sydney Children's) has been a significant one throughout the life of the partnership, contributing in excess of $7.7Million over 15 years in support of our Kids Cancer Centre.

Research has been a key feature of this support, with over $2.8milllion supporting vital research projects within our Kids Cancer Centre, helping to find new treatments and cures for childhood cancer which has helped us to work towards our goal of 100 survival for all children with cancer.

The funding from KWCF provides the Cancer Centre with the opportunity to employ much needed research staff essential for the management and coordination of a wide range of clinical trials. Access to such clinical trials allows our patients to receive state of the art medical treatment and provide access to innovative and effective new treatment regimes.

In order to facilitate this access to such a broad range of clinical trials for children with cancer, the Clinical Trials Team collaborates with several national and international collaborative trial groups and pharmaceutical companies. Two Clinical Research Associates (CRAs), whose salaries are supported by the KWCF funding, coordinate and manage the clinical trials as part of our Clinical Research Program.

 

In 1999 we funded: 
  • Research Psychologist $50,000.00.
  • Clinical Research Associate $21,000.00.

 

In 2000: 
  • Clinical Research Nurse $73,343.00.
  • Research Psychologist $50,000.00.
 
In 2001: 
  • $78,151.00. Clinical Research Nurse $63,777.00
  • Research Psychologist $62,441.00
  • Coordinator of late effects of cancer therapy. $62,592.00 
 
In 2002:
  • Clinical Research Nurse $73,343.00
 
In 2003: 
  • Clinical Research Nurse
 
In 2004: 
  • Clinical Research Nurse
 
In 2005: 
  • Behavioural Sciences Researcher $90,000.00 
 
In 2006: 
  • Behavioural Sciences Researcher $81,900.00
  • Data Manager $47,000.00 
 
In 2007: 
  • Behavioural Sciences Researcher $81,900.00
  • Data Manager $47,570.00 
 
In 2008: 
  • ‘Research Assistant for the clinical trials unit to test new treatment for children with incurable cancer  $110,000
  • Behavioural Sciences Researcher (part time) $26,160.00, Senior Researcher $46,870, Research Assistant $40,330 and PhD Scholarship $28,340.00 for the 'Kids with Cancer Foundation Behavioural Sciences Program'
 
In 2009: 
  • Research Assistant for the clinical trials unit to test new treatment for children with incurable cancer  $110,000
  • Kids with Cancer Foundation Behavioural Sciences Program: Behavioural Sciences Researcher (part time) Senior Researcher, Research Assistant and PhD Scholarship $141,700.00
 
In 2010: 
  • ‘Research Assistant for the 'Help Cure Incurable Cancers Clinical Trials Unit' to test new treatment for children with incurable cancer  $110,000
  • 'Kids with Cancer Foundation Behavioural Sciences Research Program': Behavioural Sciences Researcher (part time) Senior Researcher, Research Assistant and PhD Scholarship $131,207.00
 
In 2011: 
  • Part time Psychologist (CCC&BD) $50,000
  • *Part time Psychologist, Long-Term Follow-Up Clinic for survivors of childhood cancer $60,000
  • Kids with Cancer Foundation Behavioural Sciences Research Program': Behavioural Sciences Researcher (part time) Senior Researcher, Research Assistant and PhD Scholarship $120,372.00
  • Research Assistants for the 'Help Cure Incurable Cancers Clinical Trials Unit' to test new treatment for children with incurable cancer, two positions  $180,000 
 
In 2012: 
  • Part time Psychologist (CCC&BD) $22,000
  • Kids with Cancer Foundation Behavioural Sciences Research Program': Behavioural Sciences Researcher (part time) Senior Researcher, Research Assistant and PhD Scholarship $120,372.00
  • Research Assistants for the 'Help Cure Incurable Cancers Clinical Trials Unit' to test new treatment for children with incurable cancer, two positions  $142,730 
 
In 2013: 
  • $32,000 Part time Psychologist (CCC&BD)
  • $120,372.00 Kids with Cancer Foundation Behavioural Sciences Research Program': Behavioural Sciences Researcher (part time) Senior Researcher, Research Assistant and PhD Scholarship
  • $142,730 Research Assistants for the 'Help Cure Incurable Cancers Clinical Trials Unit' to test new treatment for children with incurable cancer, two positions. 

 

In 2014:
  • $17,703 Long Term Follow Up Program, staffing.
  • $120,370.35 Kids with Cancer Foundation Behavioural Sciences Research Program': Part time Psychologist, 2 Behavioural Sciences Researchers and a Statistician Researcher
  • $142,730 Research Assistants for the 'Help Cure Incurable Cancers Clinical Trials Unit' to test new treatment for children with incurable cancer, two positions.
 

Open a pdf of the Sydney research programs 

 

Since 1998 (our first year) we have also funded some similar research projects at The Children's Hospital at Westmead. 

In 1998:
  • Data Manager $30,000.00
In 1999: 
  • Data Manager $30,000.00,
  • Research Assistant (Gene Therapy) $63,000.00
  • Research Assistant (Unit D52 Gene Clinical) $37,500.00
  • over $50,000 for project and laboratory consumables as well as work station and software.
In 2000: 
  • The Long Term Survivor Clinic $28,750.00.
  •  Clinical Research Associate-Data Manager $46,680.00.
In 2004 - 2009: 
  • Clinical Research Associate $44,962.00, $51,689.00, $55,187.00, $57,394.00, $57,394.00 & $83,217.00
In 2011: 
  • Clinical Research Associate $86,049

 

 

 

 

 


We urge you to consider the children in a hospital near you.  To allow our vital research funding to continue, please make a tax deductible donation today.  Mail cheques to: Kids with Cancer Foundation, PO Box 135 Westmead NSW 2145 or for credit cards: free-call any donations to 1800 255522, and we guarantee that 100% of these donations will be passed to families or the children's hospitals that treat the kids, or use this Donate now button or at the top of the page.

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