2007 report

CIKA is committed to providing funding for research into solid tumors

2007 report - Cancer in Kids @ RCH - CIKA

The main programs sponsored by CIKA in the year ended 30 June 2007 were the Rhabdoid Tumours study and the Dendritic Cells programme. The committed funding for these two programmes for the year was $148,482.

The Rhabdoid Tumour study was conducted under the direction of Dr Elizabeth Algar of the Molecular Oncology Laboratory.

Rhabdoid tumours are rare and have a very high mortality rate. This research was conducted in collaboration with other hospitals here and abroad. It was first reported in the CIKA newsletter for spring 2006. This report can be read by clicking

A progress report on the rhabdoid tumours study can be read by clicking here.

The Dendritic Cells (DCs) study was conducted under the direction of Dr Denise Caruso and leveraged results found in earlier vaccine studies. It had the aim of identifying why cancer patients become immunodeficient. Improving patients' immune systems enables them to complete their prescribed course of treatment with fewer delays, thus giving them a better chance of arresting the cancer growth, and achieving remission from solid tumours. The earlier studies were reported in the CIKA newsletter for summer 2005. This report can be read by clicking here.

A subsequent progress report on the DC study can be read by clicking here.

During the study, the researchers processed and analysed 175 samples (80 in the year ended 30 June 2007) and have achieved their recruitment goals. This number of samples has enabled them to obtain statistical significance between disease groups (i.e., normals vs solid tumour group). Analysis of the data by disease groups shows that children with solid tumours have impaired immune function and reduced numbers of DCs.

The findings of the study are unique in the field as this has never been investigated before. They are also highly relevant to pediatric oncology with important consequences for novel treatments to retard tumour growth and fight against infections. They have been submitted for publication in top peer reviewed journal and are now being incorporated in new clinical trials.

Research being funded in the year ending 30 June 2008

The main program to be funded by CIKA in the year ending 30 June 2008 will be the new Dendritic Cell immunotherapy clinical trials. The new generation anti-tumour vaccines will be manufactured in the state of the art Clean Room Facility housed at the RCH in conjunction with the Cell Therapeutics Facility. The vaccines used to treat children with advanced solid tumours will be high quality clinical grade cellular products. The vaccine process will educate the patients own immune cells to attack their own tumours through manipulation in the laboratory. This process will yield at least 6 vaccine doses which the patient will receive biweekly as an injection. It has previously been shown that this type of immunotherapy has little to no side effects and can produce significant clinical responses in some patients.

CIKA has committed to funding these trials for three years, at a minimum funding level of $100,000 per year. The trial opened in August and a number of patients have been enrolled to date. It is aimed to enrol 18 patients over the next 3 years.

The committee of CIKA is very proud of the work we support at the RCH. We are striving to raise ever higher sums of money to enable us to increase our committed funding, to be able to fund a greater number and variety of studies, in as many different types of tumours as possible, which we hope will ultimately help to find a cure. As our ability to fund further studies is limited to our fundraising abilities, we continue to look for new ways to increase our revenue streams.

by Ellen Webb