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Brain Cancer Kills More Children In Australia Than Any Other Disease

May 4, 2021 Charity No Comments

This Brain Cancer Awareness Month (May), The Kids’ Cancer Project is calling for discussion, awareness and funding of childhood brain cancer, the leading killer of Australian children by disease.

With research the only way towards a cure, The Kids’ Cancer Project is committed to funding a breadth of scientists and research projects that investigate childhood brain cancer and treatment options. With the effects of treatment posing different developmental challenges to children, the need for bespoke cancer research for children remains imperative.

As part of a new international clinical trial for a group of deadly brain tumours, Australian children will be the first in the world to access a new novel drug, Larotrectinib. Co-funded by The Kids Cancer Project, CONNECT-1903, is the first study to examine if Larotrectinib can be used in the treatment of children with newly diagnosed high-grade gliomas (HGG), a diagnosis approximately 40 to 50 Australian children receive each year.

Australian Principal Investigator Professor, Dr Nick Gottardo said, “At Perth Children’s Hospital, we are very excited to be the first centre in the world to offer our children access to this promising drug. It is vital that we offer this drug in the regulated setting of a clinical trial, so we can be confident about how well it is tolerated and its effectiveness in treating paediatric HGG.”

CEO of The Kids Cancer Project, Owen Finegan says, “We believe the only way to improve outcomes for kids with cancer is through advances in medical research. Each research project we fund is a step towards a world with less children suffering from cancer and less adults’ livings with the long-term effects of childhood cancer.”

Dr Raelene Endersby, a medical researcher whose career is dedicated to finding kinder, more effective treatments for children with brain cancer, shares her perspective, “We need people with the right expertise, both in the lab and in the clinic, and we need investment in research, equipment and people, and oversight from a regulatory perspective. Our goal is not just greater survival rates, but better quality of life for survivors, too.”

In a show of commitment to tackle the key issues around children’s brain cancer, The Kids’ Cancer Project, is hosting a Kids’ Brain Cancer 360 Live event led by Dr Nick Gottardo and Professor Brandon Wainwright, Co-Director of the Children’s Brain Cancer Centre. The event will take place on Wednesday 26 May between 3 PM and 5:30 PM in Melbourne.


Col Reynolds OAM, Founder, The Kids’ Cancer Project
Col’s contribution to the lives of children with cancer was officially recognised with an Order of Australia in 2000. Before founding the charity, Col was a tourist coach driver.

Owen Finegan, CEO, The Kids’ Cancer Project
Former Australian Wallabies rugby union player, Owen Finegan joined The Kids’ Cancer Project as CEO in April 2015 and is proud of the determined stance the team is taking against childhood cancer.

Professor Nick Gottardo, Paediatric oncologist, Perth Children’s Hospital
Head of Department of Paediatric Oncology and Haematology at and Co-Head of the Brain Tumour Research Program, Telethon Kids Institute who has dedicated his career to translating ground-breaking research in the lab to kinder, more effective treatments for children with brain cancer under his care.

Suzanne Momber, Care coordinator
Oncology clinical nurse specialist, Perth Children’s Hospital, who provides her perspective as an oncology clinical nurse specialist, her specialty being childhood brain cancer.

Sarah Punch, Music therapy specialist
Music therapy manager, Robert Connor Dawes (RCD) Foundation, provides her perspective as music therapy specialist dedicated to helping children with brain cancer.

Dr Jordana McLoone, Paediatric psycho-oncologist, Sydney Children’s Hospital
Post-doctoral researcher, Kids’ Cancer Centre, Sydney Children’s Hospital, has dedicated her career to helping children and their families cope with the impact of a brain cancer diagnosis.

Dr Raelene Endersby, Co-Head of Brain Tumour Research, Telethon Kids Institute
Co-Head of Brain Tumour Research, Telethon Kids Institute, provides her perspective as a medical researcher whose career is dedicated to finding kinder, more effective treatments for children with brain cancer.


The Kids’ Cancer Project is an independent national charity supporting childhood cancer research. Since 1993, thanks to strong community support, they have contributed tens of millions of dollars to scientific studies to help children with many types of cancer. The mission of The Kids’ Cancer Project is to support bold science that has the greatest chance of clinical success to improve childhood cancer treatments. The vision is to see a one hundred per cent survival rate for children with cancer while eradicating the harmful impacts treatment can bring.


CONNECT-1903 is a clinical trial designed by COllaborative Network for NEuro-oncology Clinical Trials (CONNECT), a recently established United States (U.S)-led consortium who are developing clinical trials for high-risk paediatric brain cancers by combining novel agents with traditional therapies. CONNECT-1903 is the first study to examine if a novel drug Larotrectinib can be used in the treatment of children with newly diagnosed HGG. As Larotrectinib targets tumours with a specific cancer-causing mutation (NTRK fusions), only children with this genetic change will be eligible for this trial (which can be up to 40% of children diagnosed with HGG in some age groups, such as babies and infants).


On Wednesday 26 May 2021, Owen Finegan, CEO of The Kids’ Cancer Project will chair a workshop to discuss the current barriers around children’s brain cancer research. Invited guests include key note speakers Dr Nick Gottardo and Professor Brandon Wainwright along with other paediatric brain cancer researchers, frontline health care professionals, advocates and patient carers – all who will provide a 360 degree view of the issues faced by children diagnosed with brain cancer today. The goal of the session is to identify one major priority that will be addressed by the collaborative consort.

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