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World-leading children’s cancer initiative kicks off

The fight to find a cure for many terrible childhood cancers has been boosted with the start of ground-breaking clinical trials, backed by $20 million from the Australian Government.

The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Former Minister for Health and Aged Care

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The fight to find a cure for many terrible childhood cancers has been boosted with the start of ground-breaking clinical trials, backed by $20 million from the Turnbull Government.

Zero Childhood Cancer is a world-leading initiative, bringing together a national network of hospitals, research centres and clinicians across Australia.

The Australia wide clinical trial will focus on improving survival rates and quality of life for children whose cancer currently has no prospect of cure.

Childhood cancer kills more children than any other disease in Australia and sadly, each week, we lose three children and adolescents because of it.

We must to do everything in our power to protect and improve the lives of these children who face an unimaginable battle so early in their lives.

I am delighted that as of today, Australian kids will have access to this trial in Sydney, and it will be available to children with high risk or relapsed cancer nationally, as other sites open over the next few months.

The Zero Childhood Cancer program brings together the brightest minds from research and puts Australia at the forefront of innovation in health care globally.

It’s an exciting time for medical research in Australia and some of the brightest minds in the world are working right here to find a cure for cancer.

Researchers will initially focus on the most common cancers affecting children, including Leukaemia, Neuroblastoma, Sarcoma and brain cancers which occur in children.

Tumour samples will be taken from each child and grown and analysed in the laboratory, then tested for the most effective treatments.

In this way, drugs can be tested for effectiveness prior to being administered to the child.

The initiative will also use genomics and drug screening to provide precision medicine for each child. This will treat each child’s cancer in the most targeted way possible, improving survival, while reducing side effects.

The initiative will run nationally over a three year period for children with high risk or relapsed cancer.

I want to particularly thank our amazing clinicians, researchers, doctors and nurses who have made this project possible. The work you do is truly life changing and I wish you every success.

The Federal Government is committed to supporting and funding medical research because it provides an opportunity to improve of the lives of every Australian.

The Turnbull Government is also supporting other major new initiatives that will improve access to clinical trials, particularly for people with rare cancers including children.

Through AIM BRAIN, Australian children will have access to international research collaborations of paediatric brain cancer led by the Australian New Zealand Children’s Haematology and Oncology Group.

We have also made available $13 million for competitive research grants from the Medical Research Future Fund to boost clinical trial for under-researched health priorities, such as rare cancers and rare diseases.

Our focus on clinical trials will benefit patients, improve health outcomes and advance medical knowledge.

The Zero Childhood Cancer initiative will be led by Children’s Cancer Institute and The Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick, part of The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network. Participating hospitals and research centres include:


  • Children’s Cancer Institute (Program research leaders)
  • Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick (Program clinical leaders)
  • The Children’s Hospital at Westmead
  • John Hunter Children’s Hospital
  • Kids Research Institute, Westmead
  • Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics, Garvan Institute of Medical Research
  • The ACRF International Centre for the Proteome of Cancer (ProCan), Children’s Medical Research Institute, Westmead


  • Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital
  • University of Queensland Diamantina Institute


  • Women’s and Children’s Hospital
  • South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute
  • Centre for Cancer Biology


  • Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne
  • Monash Children’s Hospital
  • Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne
  • Murdoch Children’s Research Institute


  • Princess Margaret Hospital (moving to Perth Children’s Hospital)
  • Telethon Kids Cancer Centre, Telethon Kids Institute

The initiative will also collaborate with research centres in the USA and Europe. Interested parents should contact their child’s paediatric oncologist.

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