Photo of Associate Professor Tao LiuAssociate Professor Tao Liu  from the Children’s Cancer Institute, is one of the two winners of our 2020 research grants. We asked Associate Professor Tao Liu to outline his research and how it aims to help children with high risk neuroblastoma. 

High-risk neuroblastoma cases with TERT oncogene rearrangement

Neuroblastoma is the most common solid tumour in early childhood and accounts for 15% of all childhood cancer death. Approximately a quarter of high-risk neuroblastoma is caused by rearrangements in a gene called TERT that results in uncontrolled cancer growth, known as TERT oncogene rearrangement. Children with this subtype of neuroblastoma have less than 40% survival rate and are typically treated with surgery and toxic chemotherapy, meaning those that do survive often suffer life-long side effects.

The funding from Neuroblastoma Australia will allow our team at Children’s Cancer Institute to identify the specific drivers of TERT oncogene rearrangement in high-risk neuroblastoma and demonstrate novel therapies that specifically target these drivers.

We hope that, if successful, these novel therapies can be taken into clinical trials to see the first targeted therapy for patients with neuroblastoma due to TERT oncogene rearrangement, leading to better survival rates and better quality of life for children with this devastating childhood cancer.   Associate Professor Tao Liu

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