Understanding Childhood Brain Cancer

A new two-year project explores brain tumour behaviours

Improving our understanding of childhood brain cancer and solid tumours is the aim of new research funded by the Children’s Cancer Foundation.  

The Children’s Cancer Foundation is providing more than $270,000 to researchers from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) to undertake the two-year project.  

With a focus on medulloblastoma and high-grade gliomas, researchers will identify genes that fuse to cause cancer and then explore the factors that cause these alterations and the interaction between them. The work will contribute to the development of a precise scientific classification for all brain tumours.     

The researchers will then use this information to develop a new frontline blood test, focusing on neuroblastoma and lymphoma, which will map the genetic nature and profile of tumours in advance of any major surgery or biopsy. This liquid biopsy technique has the potential to identify the presence and nature of a tumour before any major surgery or other biopsy technique, much like prenatal blood testing for women in early pregnancy.

Better, kinder childhood cancer treatments

The test will also improve the way in which clinicians can track a patient’s response to treatment.  

The research team is led by Associate Professor Paul Ekert, with Dr Dong-Anh Khuong-Quang, a Herman fellow in the Children’s Cancer Centre of the Royal Children’s Hospital.  

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Young patient at hospital