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Inaugural Childhood Brain Cancer Awareness Day

The Hon. Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health

The Morrison Government has launched an annual Childhood Brain Cancer Awareness Day along with an additional $7 million in research funding to help support children and their families living with the devastating disease.

It is estimated that around 100 children aged 0-14 years are diagnosed with brain cancer each year and that an estimated 36 children will die from brain cancer in 2019.

Childhood brain cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in Australian children.

The inaugural Childhood Brain Cancer Awareness Day aims to raise public awareness of the impact of childhood brain cancer on patients, family and carers and to focus on the importance of childhood brain cancer-related research.

Today on the first Childhood Brain Cancer Awareness Day, we are shining a spotlight on one of the deadliest childhood brain cancers - Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).

DIPG is an aggressive brain tumour found at the base of the brain, which is estimated to affect around 20 children aged 0 to 14 years each year in Australia. Less than 10% of children are alive 2 years after diagnosis.

In a show of commitment to doubling the 10 year survival rate of childhood brain cancer and improving the quality of life of people living with brain cancer, our Government will provide $5 million from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) for childhood brain cancer clinical trials.

The grant round will open on 15 November 2019.

This funding, through the Government’s landmark MRFF, aims to enhance clinical trial activity, treatments, cures, and extend and improve quality of life for young Australians living with brain cancer.

Clinical trial programs like this will bring hope and save lives.

This is in addition to the $2 million in National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding recently announced for brain cancer research projects focused on treating DIPG:

  • $1.4 million was awarded to Dr Misty Jenkins at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research to design immunotherapy treatments for adult and paediatric high grade gliomas, including DIPG.
  • $600,000 was awarded to Dr Matthew Dun at the University of Newcastle to develop targeted treatments to improve the outcomes of children with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and DIPG.

Our long-term goal is to defeat childhood brain cancer, and by funding new initiatives we move closer every day to finding a cure.

The Kids’ Cancer Project will partner with Cancer Australia to establish and coordinate Childhood Brain Cancer Awareness Day, in collaboration with childhood and brain cancer groups, including people affected by childhood brain cancer, NGOs, researchers and government.