Grants awarded to the Children's Cancer Institute

Thanks to the hard work of our community we have been able to award two research grants of $125,000 for 2020.


Award process

This is the first time Neuroblastoma Australia in our 10-year history has operated a formal application process. Applications were submitted from ten research teams during the bid-for-funding process which opened during Children’s Cancer Awareness Month in September. The charity’s recently appointed international Scientific Advisory Board, comprising three of the world’s preeminent neuroblastoma specialists independently reviewed all research proposals.

The two outstanding research projects

One of the two winning research projects will use an existing drug to treat a group of high-risk children with an extremely rare TERT oncogene rearrangement in their neuroblastoma, who currently have a less that 40% chance of survival.  This research will be undertaken by Associate Professor Tao Liu at the Children’s Cancer Institute.

This proposal was seen as the most exciting of all the projects submitted to be reviewed by our expert panel as it currently addresses an area where there is very little progress. This is a new therapy which has not before been developed in vitro, in mouse models or in patients anywhere in the world, and as it proposes using a drug already being used in clinical trials we should be able to see the results sooner rather than later. Lucy Jones

The second successful project, led by Dr Alla Dolnikov also from the Children’s Cancer Institute, is researching a new way to make CAR T therapy more effective in treating neuroblastoma tumours by suppressing the MYC oncogene. Currently CAR T therapy which is seen as a promising way of using the body’s own immune system to tackle cancer cells has not worked on neuroblastoma tumours.  But the award-winning research looks like there could be a way of changing this.

Some types of neuroblastoma are incredibly aggressive, and no progress has been made over the last 10 years in targeting these specific high-risk types of disease. We have to invest today in research to find ways of tackling these diseases better so all babies and toddlers get the chance to survive. Lucy Jones

Our hope for better treatments

Indianna in her pram with central lineIndianna was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma at just 12 months of age. She passed away only ten months later. 
Indianna had a particularly aggressive type of neuroblastoma called M-NYC amplified. 

After five rounds of high dose combination chemotherapy, 18 blood transfusions, 12 platelet transfusions, more than 100 blood tests and finally an 18-hour operation, her tumour looked as if it had responded and shrunk. However, just three months later - just before a planned stem cell transplant was due to start - a CT scan revealed the disease had returned and had spread throughout Indianna’s little body.

Indianna's family have kindly shared their story with us to raise awareness of this terrible disease and you can read their journey through her page.

What you can do to help

There were eight other wonderful research projects submitted during our funding process. We only had enough to fund the top two. We will be putting our efforts towards raising funds to help support at least another two projects but we can't do this without your help.

Visit our how to help page for ways that you can help us to raise funds for this children's cancer or simply donate today to our Appeals.

Every little bit helps. 

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