Current Research

CIKA is committed to providing funding for research into solid tumours

Current Research - Cancer in Kids @ RCH - CIKA

Early in 2013 CIKA committed to a three year project for the establishment of a Translational Research Centre in Paediatric Solid Tumours, to be conducted through a partnership between The Royal Children’s Cancer Centre and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.

By working together we hope to realize our common vision, that through research we can not only improve treatment but also discover a way to prevent childhood tumours.

When CIKA was formed in 1980, patients diagnosed with a solid tumour were given a standard treatment protocol. However, no two childhood tumours are ever 100% identical, and we now know that differences in these tumours require different treatment. Current approaches to treatment offer only crude ‘tweaking’ of a few generalized treatment protocols. We know that placing children on standard treatment when they will not respond decreases their chances of overall survival – but alternatives simply do not exist today.

Recent advances in mapping human DNA, has brought us to the cusp of a technological revolution. This revolution will enable us to see the ‘real time’ generation of such a map for all patients, and will allow unprecedented insights into the tumor type, aggressiveness and response to different treatment protocols, all of which will inform an individual’s treatment to maximize chances of a favorable outcome. The challenge is to discover predictive biomarkers that indentify which children are unlikely to respond to conventional treatment to assist in timely direction to more aggressive regimens or clinical trials.

When considering projects to fund, we look for projects that:
• Conduct research into multiple types of solid tumours;
• Have the potential to provide benefit to current patients;
• Build on research we have previously funded.

We believe this project meets all of these criteria. Its key goals are:
• To establish a state-of-the-art solid tumour biobank and parallel cell line facility to provide valuable resources for:

*the identification of molecular markers associated with tumour development, or predictive of outcome,
* the pre-clinical testing of novel therapies directed at specific cellular pathways disrupted in cancer;

• To use the molecular information to prospectively assist in timely clinical trial enrolment of patients unlikely to respond to current treatments and to attract novel studies.

Banking of tumour tissue is essential for research into childhood tumours, as researchers need access to sufficient numbers of samples of these rare disorders. The RCH CCC tissue bank is one of only a few in the country that routinely collects such tissues for these purposes, and currently houses over one hundred samples. CIKA was involved in the initial creation of this tissue bank; a 2007 report from the research head stated “Largely as a consequence of the CIKA funded TRAIL project, the Children’s Cancer Centre has comprehensively re-vamped the way tumour samples are processed, for both research and diagnostic purposes.”

To realize our research goals the existing tissue bank needs to be transitioned and brought to a standard that will facilitate sample and knowledge sharing with other centres nationally with equivalent tissue banks, to coordinate research projects between teams. This project is helping to build solid foundations on which to implement this ‘personalized’ model of care within the RCH Melbourne in the very near future.

To learn more about the tissue bank at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, funded by CIKA, please click here.

To read an update published in August 2015, please click here.

As with the previous project, CIKA is kept up to date by a series of reports written by the researchers or by others involved in the project. To read these, please click on the appropriate link below.

November 2013

June 2014

April 2016

Former lead researcher, Denise Caruso, provided the following reports
on the previous project that was supported by CIKA.

July 2008

December 2008

December 2009

July 2011

January 2012

May 2012

Tissue bank coordinator: Louise Ludlow

Researcher Anna Czajko.

Researcher Alex Sexton-Oates.

Researcher Leah Morenos.

Former lead researcher: Denise Caruso