Neuroblastoma takes the lives of more children under five than any other cancer, surely the government and pharmaceutical companies provide all the support researchers need to find a cure?

The short answer is no.

It’s a shock to learn that children, particularly those with rare diseases like neuroblastoma, come last in the world of cancer research.

That’s why we do what we do.

At this moment, the funds we raise as a community are the best chance we have of a world where ALL children diagnosed with neuroblastoma get a chance to grow up.

A look at the state of play

Key statistics about neuroblastoma:

  • Neuroblastoma is a solid tumour childhood cancer that claims more lives of children under the age of 5 than any other cancer.
  • 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 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.

Funding for childhood cancer in Australia

There are three sources of Australian government funding for cancer research:
  • the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
  • Cancer Australia
  • the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).
The percentage of funds these organisations have committed to childhood cancer since 2014 (2016 for NHMRC) ranges from only 5.7% to 21%*.

It’s hard to say what percentage of this went into specific neuroblastoma projects however we can confirm in 2018 the Cancer Australia expenditure for neuroblastoma research accounted for only 0.3% of funds*. 

What you can do


Visit our take action page for ideas, tools and information regarding how you can get involved today. Consider:

What we are doing

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

A word from the Children’s Cancer Institute

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


*. Data provided by the Health and Medical Research Office, Health Economics and Research Division, Australian Government Department of Heath 17 September 2019.