Federal Minister for Health, The Hon Greg Hunt MP, speaks at the launch of Zero Childhood Cancer
18 September 2017
Led by Children’s Cancer Institute and the Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, Zero Childhood Cancer will offer personalised treatment approaches to all Australian children living with high-risk or relapsed cancer. The Program will employ a wide range of cutting-edge approaches to investigate each child’s cancer at the genomic and molecular level – including sequencing the whole genome of each child’s tumour, as well as their normal genome.
Garvan has partnered with the Lions Club International Foundation and the Australian Lions Childhood Cancer Research Foundation to bring the power of whole genome sequencing to the Zero Childhood Cancer program. Together, Lions and Garvan have developed the Lions Kids Cancer Genome Project (‘Genome Power’) – which will, in the first instance, sequence and analyse the tumour and normal genomes of 400 children across Australia who have high-risk cancer, as an integral part of their participation in Zero Childhood Cancer. Genome sequencing and analysis will be carried out at Garvan’s Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics, which is the largest genome sequencing facility in the southern hemisphere.
Professor John Mattick, Garvan’s Executive Director, says, “This is an important day for the fight to end children’s cancer in Australia.
“In developing the Zero Childhood Cancer program and making it a reality across Australia, Children’s Cancer Institute and the Sydney Children’s Hospital at Randwick have shown great leadership and vision – and we are delighted to be working with them, and with Lions, to drive a key component of the program through Garvan’s state-of-the-art capability in whole genome sequencing and analysis.”
“By studying a cancer’s genome sequence, in combination with other clinical and genetic information, it is possible to identify personalised treatment approaches that are likely to be effective against an individual’s cancer. We firmly believe that such personalised medicine approaches will be the key to transforming outcomes for children with cancer.”
Dr Joe Collins, Founding Chairman of the Australian Lions Childhood Cancer Research Foundation, says he sees the Zero Childhood Cancer launch as an illustration of the power of the community, in partnership with government and philanthropy, to drive change.
“As Lions, we are always seeking to provide service which makes positive changes in our communities, but this project goes deeper than that. So many of us are the mums and dads, the cousins, aunts and uncles, or grandparents of kids with cancer, so this is a very personal cause for us.
“We Lions are incredibly proud to support the Lions Kids Cancer Genome Project – and through it, the Zero Childhood Cancer program.
“This is truly an exciting day – and we Lions are motivated every day by the potential of Zero Childhood Cancer to make a powerful difference to the lives of kids with cancer, and their families.”