Neuroblastoma is a solid tumour of childhood cancer. It develops from nerve cells called “neuroblasts”. These cells are most commonly found in the adrenal glands (above the kidney) and along the tissues around the spinal cord. Most tumors start in the adrenal glands.

There are no known reasons as to why this cancer occurs and there are no clear environmental links. There are rare cases where neuroblastoma runs in families due to a genetic mutation, but in most cases there is no known genetic cause.

Neuroblastoma is a very complex cancer and there are many different types that behave very differently. At one end of the spectrum are benign tumours that may even resolve spontaneously, while at the other end are aggressive tumours with an average survival rate of 50%.

The cure rate for these 'high-risk' tumours has only improved marginally in recent years but there is clear hope that this rate will change with some new drug discoveries coming through.

We need to improve treatments so they are more effective and less toxic and the way to do this is through research.

Key statistics about Neuroblastoma

  • Neuroblastoma claims more lives of children under the age of 5 than any other cancer.
  • The average age of diagnosis is just 2 years old.
  • The average 5-year survival rate for aggressive neuroblastoma is only 50%.
  • A third of the survivors of neuroblastoma have long-term side effects from their actual treatments due to the toxicity of them. Side effects include hearing loss, infertility and an increased risk of getting a secondary cancer.

There is currently no cure for relapsed neuroblastoma patients – although there is clear potential to develop one, as the new drugs are showing definite progress.

Urgent funding is required to accelerate the progress of these new drugs.

We believe that all children have the right to grow up and hope the research we fund will bring us closer to a world where all childhood cancers are curable.

We currently support a range of research projects and you can find more information here:

Professor Murray Norris AM, Deputy Director of the Children’s Cancer Institute explains the importance of research.