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Cancers in children are very different to cancers in adults - they develop differently, spread more rapidly and aggressively, and in most cases, they appear to strike at random. Additionally, an unacceptable gap exists between available cancer treatments for children and adults, with options for children sadly lagging far behind. The Telethon Kids Cancer Centre is dedicated to eliminating this gap by revolutionising cancer treatments for children.

Cancer remains the leading cause of childhood death by disease in Australia. It is a battle too many children and teenagers face every day, with few treatment advances in decades. Close to 1,000 children and adolescents are diagnosed every year in Australia and sadly, three children a week lose their battle.

For many children, current treatments are not curative and those who survive are too often left with devastating life-long side effects. This is an unavoidable consequence of current radiotherapies and chemotherapies, that are not only toxic to cancer cells, but also to the developing bodies and brains of children. Tragically, current treatments can even cause deadly secondary cancers later in life.

The profound life-long impact of cancer on affected children, their families, and their communities cannot be underestimated.

More effective childhood cancer treatments with fewer debilitating side effects are desperately needed!

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Meet the Cancer Centre team

The Telethon Kids Cancer Centre is a highly collaborative team, striving to get more effective and safer therapies into the clinic to improve survival rates and quality of life for babies, children, and young people with cancer.

Our vision is to defeat childhood cancer whilst reducing the devastating side effects of current treatments.

Fundamental to the success of the Centre is the integrated, long-term partnership between Telethon Kids’ laboratory researchers and the clinical oncology team at Perth Children's Hospital. We work hand-in-hand to search for vulnerabilities in paediatric cancers and to develop therapies to destroy cancer cells, whilst minimising the harsh side effects that currently impact children’s short and long-term health. Our team includes passionate researchers, students, paediatric oncologists, surgeons, pathologists, imaging specialists, radiation oncologists, and clinical trial staff. Highlighting the strength of this partnership is the fact that two of our research laboratory teams are co-headed by clinical oncologists.

Children battling cancer are at the forefront of our research. Our clinical team members share their observations from the clinic with laboratory colleagues to enable research directions to be planned with patients in mind. Our collegial working relationships allow us to identify and focus on unmet clinical needs and tailor our research programs accordingly. We adamantly believe that the biggest breakthroughs occur through collaboration. As such, we also work closely with our extensive network of scientific and clinical collaborators, locally, nationally, and internationally.

The exceptional partnership between Telethon Kids Cancer Centre and the Perth Children’s Hospital oncology unit also enables us to have a dynamic and flexible translational pipeline. Tumours and biological specimens donated by families in the hospital are utilised in the laboratory to create novel childhood cancer models. These empower our experienced researchers to discover new therapies using sophisticated equipment and technologies. Our laboratory findings can then be applied to the design of new clinical trials with the aim of embedding them in the standard of care for patients in the hospital. Our collective program of research runs from bedside to laboratory research, and back to bedside in the form of improved clinical care.

 

We are up for the fight against childhood cancer!