Facts and Figures

The Zero Childhood Cancer Program (ZERO) is one of the world’s leading and most comprehensive personalised medicine program for children with cancer. Here are some key facts and figures about ZERO.


ZERO began in 2015 with a pilot study conducted in New South Wales. Then a national clinical trial was launched in 2017 for an initial three year period.

So far, nearly 500 children with high risk cancer have been enrolled in the trial. A three-year extension of this trial has been approved, which will allow us to continue to enroll patients without interruption as we expand into the next phase of the program. 

Clinical trial 

As of early 2021, nearly 500 children have been enrolled on ZERO’s national clinical trial.  

The current clinical trial is open to all children and young people up to 21 years of age who have high-risk or relapsed cancer with a less than 30% chance of survival, and a small pilot cohort for children with rare/undiagnosed cancers. 

ZERO involves all eight of Australia’s children’s cancer centres and 23 national and international research and clinical partners.

Pie chart of the ZERO Childhood Cancer program's site enrolments
Pie chart of ZERO disease status

A three year extension of this trial has been approved, which will allow us to continue to enroll patients without interruption as we expand into our next phase of the program.  

Building on the success of the first three years of the national trial, we will now expand access to and enhance the program over the next three years. This expansion has been made possible as a result of funding support ((link to the funding news article)) by the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Emerging Priorities and Consumer Driven Research Initiative (EPCDR) and the Minderoo Foundation’s Collaborate Against Cancer Initiative, announced in April 2020. Excitingly, the new trial will not only include children with high-risk cancer, it will be expanded over time to be accessible to all children with cancer  

By the end of 2023, all Australian children and young people with cancer will be able to benefit from ZERO, regardless of the cancer they have. For the first time, every child diagnosed with cancer will have access to personalised medicine. 

Most children enrolled in the clinical trial have cancers of the brain and central nervous system, followed by sarcomas.

Pie chart of ZERO Childhood Cancer program tumour types


The ZERO team has provided treatment recommendations for more than 70% of participating children.  

Treatment recommendations have been provided in a turnaround time of less than nine weeks.  

For the first group of children to receive personalised treatment plans, about 60% have had a complete or partial response, or had their disease stabilized. 

So far, five direct and 18 indirect clinical trials have opened as a result of ZERO. 

These results are based on the first 250 children enrolled on ZERO


ZERO is led in partnership by Children’s Cancer Institute and the Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick.

Kids Oncology and Leukaemia trials (KOALA) at Kids Cancer Centre, Sydney Children’s Hospital, is the national coordinating centre for the trial. The Australian and New Zealand Children’s Haematology and Oncology Group (ANZCHOG) − the National Cancer Cooperative Clinical Trials Group for childhood cancer and the peak professional body for paediatric oncologists and other healthcare professionals who care for children with cancer − endorses ZERO and is the trial sponsor.

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