The results of the national clinical trial show that by applying the latest science and technology to analyse individual patient’s tumours, it is possible to explain most children’s cancers on a molecular basis and to use this understanding to identify effective treatment options that otherwise would not be possible or accessible in a high proportion of these.
For some children enrolled on the ZERO clinical trial, the personalised treatment plan they received has led to additional precious quality time with their families. In other cases, it has proven to be nothing short of a lifesaver. Jack and Ellie are examples of children whose lives have been turned around by ZERO.
These cases show the power of Zero Childhood Cancer as a personalised medicine program. By recognising that each child’s cancer is unique and tailoring treatment to the individual, outcomes can be radically changed.
Due to the complex nature of childhood cancer, extraordinary outcomes like those of Ellie and Jack are not possible for every child. But the more we learn through ZERO, the more likely clinicians will be able to access and deliver, the right treatment to the right child at the right time, and the more likely we are to see remarkable success stories like these in the future.
“We got to celebrate another precious birthday with our son. And I hope that, because of ZERO, there will be many more to follow.”
- Viv Burai, Jack’s mum
ZERO is not only helping individual children − but it is also having a significant research impact. The information being gathered through the Program is offering extraordinary insights into childhood cancer which stand to benefit all children with cancer in the future, not just in Australia but worldwide.
We are identifying new potential therapies for cancers for which there have been no advances in treatment options or survival rates in decades.
We are developing new data systems that integrate clinical and research data, which will improve personalised medicine for the benefit of all.
We are identifying heritable genetic changes that are likely to have led to cancer (cancer predisposition) in a significant proportion of children with cancer. This will help us predict an individual child’s (and their family’s) susceptibility to cancer in the future, and may one day make it possible to control cancer.
The results from ZERO have led directly or indirectly led to the opening of more than 20 new clinical trials for children with cancer, which will generate new findings of their own.
“We are seeing children alive today, who would not have survived without Zero Childhood Cancer.”
- Vanessa Tyrrell, Program Leader, Zero Childhood Cancer
Jack was diagnosed with a brain tumour at 9 nine years old. Following surgery his prognosis was good. But just over a year later Jack relapsed, this time his tumour was aggressive and had spread throughout his brain and spine. With no other options, Jack was enrolled on the Zero Childhood Cancer Program..