$1.37 Million Awarded to Clinical Research Fellow

The inaugural Children’s Cancer Foundation Clinical Research Fellowship has been awarded to Dr Seong Lin Khaw, a paediatric oncologist at The Royal Children's Hospital.

The fellowship, co-funded with Victorian Cancer Agency and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, is the largest individual grant in the Foundation’s 25-year history.

The $1,370,000 grant will enable Dr Khaw to build a world-class paediatric leukaemia research project at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute over the next four years.

The research project will focus on improving the effectiveness of treatment in children with very high risk acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (VHR-ALL) who respond poorly to or relapse following standard-of-care therapy.

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) is a blood cancer, the most common type of childhood cancer. While the majority of children with ALL can be cured with standard chemotherapy, some patients respond poorly to or relapse following first-line therapy. Sadly, despite more intensive second-line therapy, including a bone marrow transplant, many of these patients do not survive.

“Through my Fellowship, I aim to grow individual patient leukaemias in the laboratory to develop more precise and effective treatment for children with VHR-ALL, particularly with the use of newly developed, targeted drugs, such as venetoclax,” said Dr Khaw, Children’s Cancer Foundation Clinical Research Fellow.

“We’re proud to help fund this fellowship through the Victorian Cancer Agency, and proud that Melbourne is now home to yet another world-class medical research project,” said the Hon. Jill Hennessy MP, Minister for Health. “Dr Khaw is an extremely deserving recipient, and his research into targeted leukaemia therapies will make a huge difference to children who currently have low long-term survival rates.”

“The Foundation is proud to award the inaugural Children’s Cancer Foundation Clinical Research Fellowship to Dr Khaw. He is an exceptionally well-trained and committed researcher and paediatric oncologist, and is well-placed to drive this translational research program with his team of experienced researchers,” said Aileen Boyd-Squires, Chief Executive of the Children's Cancer Foundation. 

“Our collaboration with the Victorian Cancer Agency is important – this is the first time the Children's Cancer Foundation has received government funding for research support. Leveraging our charity dollar with partner funding is a powerful way to increase the impact of research and ultimately effect positive outcomes for Australian children with cancer,” said Ms Boyd-Squires.

Funding for the research project, which includes a $629,000 investment from the Children's Cancer Foundation, comprises:

  • $800,000 for salary and research costs – funded by the Victorian Cancer Agency and the Children's Cancer Foundation
  • $229,000 for laboratory research costs – funded by the Children's Cancer Foundation
  • $341,000 for a Research Assistant salary – funded by Murdoch Children’s Research Institute


Dr Khaw in the research lab