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For Parents

Thank you for your interest in the Zero Childhood Cancer program. Your treating clinician will always be your first point of contact about the potential suitability of this multicentre prospective study for your child’s individual circumstances. However, below are some frequently asked questions that may be helpful to read initially:

Parents FAQs

What is the aim of the study?

Zero Childhood Cancer is a research study investigating whether a child's individual tumour genetics or biology can be used to better predict responsiveness to a particular drug. This is an example of personalised or precision medicine.

Is my child be eligible for the Zero Childhood Cancer program?

The participants enrolled on this study are determined using strict eligibility criteria in consultation with their treating oncologist and the Zero Childhood Cancer committee. The focus of the Zero Childhood Cancer program is children with the most aggressive cancers. In all cases, please speak to your treating oncologist first and they will be able to access additional information specific to your child’s eligibility.

Will my child get access to experimental drugs if enrolled on this study?

Zero Childhood Cancer is not a drug trial. The aim of the program is to test scientific methods to better match a drug to a child's unique tumour based on the biology and genetic footprint of the tumour. If useful information can be gained through this experimental scientific analysis, a panel of expert oncologists and scientists will issue a report back detailing this information and relevant potential treatment options to your child's treating oncologist.

Does my child need to have extra tests or procedures to be enrolled on the study?

Yes - the study will require a biopsy with a sample of fresh tumour in order to do the required laboratory testing. Gaining sufficient tissue is critical in order to maximise the chances of being able to do all necessary scientific analysis. The importance of this will be discussed with your treating oncologist and/or surgeon.

What are the timings of the Zero Childhood Cancer program?

The first stage of the Zero Childhood Cancer program began in 2016 with a pilot study for children with high-risk cancer being treated in New South Wales. During this pilot, the platform required to create a personalised medicine pipeline was established and tested. This involved multiple steps, including developing a reception process for cancer samples being sent from all over Australia to a centralised tumour bank, and establishing the best possible methods for molecular profiling, drug screening and drug efficacy testing.

In 2017, following successful completion of the pilot study, a national clinical trial was launched. At 31 October 2018, 127 children with high-risk cancers from all over Australia have been enrolled on the state-of-the-art trial, which will run for three years. The trial is free to all children who meet enrolment criteria and is being sponsored by the Australian and New Zealand Haematology/Oncology group (ANZCHOG).

Will my child be able to be treated by my local oncology centre?

Yes, all Australian paediatric cancer centres will be able to open the clinical trial, meaning, if eligible for the child, your child can remain at your current treatment centre and not need to travel.

Is the Zero Childhood Cancer program for children in Australia only?

The Zero Childhood Cancer program involves all paediatric oncology units across Australia. There are 950 children and adolescents who are diagnosed with cancer every year in Australia, and approximately 210 of these patients have high-risk cancers on diagnosis or after relapse, and are eligible for this study. The Zero Childhood Cancer program recruits patients from all paediatric oncology units across Australia. The program has formed a collaborative network of multidisciplinary experts from national and international medical research institutions and hospitals to deliver high quality results in a clinically-relevant timeframe.

For more details, please refer to the Collaboration Map. Regardless of whether your enquiry is domestic or international, please speak to your treating oncologist as your first point of contact.

How much does the Zero Childhood Cancer program cost parents?

There is no charge for Australian children to be part of the study. Children’s Cancer Institute and Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network are raising the necessary funds for the full roll out of the program and the tests required for each child. International enquiries will be subject to different criteria which you will need to discuss with your treating clinician.

How do I find out more?

Please contact your treating oncologist who will be able to make contact with us via info@zerochildhoodcancer.org.au.