Zero Childhood Cancer continues fight to help seriously ill kids with $600,000 donation

29 Apr 2020

A world-leading personalised medicine program being developed in Australia to save children battling aggressive cancer has today received a $600,000 donation from the Lott.

The donation from the Lott, the home of Australia’s official lotteries, includes some Golden Casket unclaimed prize money.

Cancer remains the biggest killer of Australian children from disease. The Zero Childhood Cancer Program is Australia’s first personalised medicine treatment program and is focussed on children diagnosed with cancer who have been given a less than a 30% chance of survival.

Led by the Children’s Cancer Institute and the Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, The Zero Childhood Cancer Program brings together all major Australian clinical and research centres working in childhood cancer.

Since its national clinical trial launched in September 2017, over 300 children and young people with aggressive cancer have been enrolled. For 74% of these patients, the program has successfully identified a personalised treatment plan aimed to target the specific genetic changes driving their cancer, in just nine weeks.

Children’s Cancer Institute’s Executive Director Professor Michelle Haber AM said she hoped the information they were gathering from the Program would not only help them cure childhood cancer, but also one day prevent it.

“The Zero Childhood Cancer Program can provide exciting new options where standard treatments have failed. For the first time we have a real chance to defeat aggressive childhood cancers, and it’s donations like this one today that can make this happen,” she said.

Senior Oncologist Professor Glenn Marshall AM said the program was providing hope for children with cancer in Australia for whom conventional therapy is not expected to lead to a cure.

“The Zero Childhood Cancer Program is the epitome of research translated into clinical practice – true bench to bedside science,” he said.

The Lott’s $600,000 contribution will be used to fund the national clinical trial which will see 400 children join by the end of the year.

The Lott Managing Director Sue van der Merwe said Australia’s official lotteries was honoured to be part of this truly revolutionary journey towards curing childhood cancer.

“This partnership continues a long-held tradition for Australian lotteries of funding vital medical initiatives,” she said.

“We’re committed to giving back to the communities in which we operate and tackling childhood cancer is something we are particularly passionate about.

“This program is giving new hope to families and children going through an unimaginable ordeal.

“We want more children with cancer to have the opportunity to access personalised cancer treatment plans and with today’s $600,000 donation, along with the incredible work from the research and medical partners, that will be possible.”

Two women holding $600,000 cheque

Children who are enrolled in The Zero Childhood Cancer Program have a sample of their cancer sent to Children’s Cancer Institute, where the latest technology is used to analyse the tumour’s genetic and biological make up.

By analysing each child’s unique cancer cells and finding therapies that specifically target these cells, the program gives each child the best chance of survival while minimising their risk of debilitating side effects.

Sydney mother Vivian Rosati said The Zero Childhood Cancer Program saved the life of her son Jack, 13.

“Donations like this one today means that other families like ours will have the same chance. Programs like Zero Childhood Cancer give families hope where there would overwise be none,” she said.

The sign of Australia’s Official Lotteries, the Lott unites Australian lottery brands including Tatts, NSW Lotteries, Golden Casket and SA Lotteries under one banner. It operates and markets Australia’s leading lottery games customers know and love creating everyday winners, winning every day.

In the 12 months to 30 June 2018, 74 million winners took home a total of $2.7 billion in prize money from their favourite games which include Saturday Gold Lotto, Monday and Wednesday Gold Lotto, Powerball, Oz Lotto, Set for Life, Lucky Lotteries, Keno and Instant Scratch-Its.