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New cancer research priorities give hope for childhood cancers of low survival

As part of the Australian Government Fighting Childhood Cancer initiative, Cancer Australia has released new research priorities focusing on improving outcomes for childhood cancers of low survival.

The new research priorities for Childhood Cancers of Low Survival, along with existing priorities in All Cancers Research, were announced as Cancer Australia called for applications to the 2018 round of the Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme (PdCCRS).

Dr Helen Zorbas, CEO, Cancer Australia, said that the new paediatric cancer research priorities focussed on increasing survival through a better understanding of the causes of childhood cancers, improved early detection and diagnosis, and more effective treatments.

Low survival cancers in children are identified as brain and central nervous system tumour types; hepatoblastoma; acute myeloid leukaemia; sarcoma types and sympathetic nervous system tumour types.

“In looking to support research in these areas, Cancer Australia’s PdCCRS encourages applications which focus on localised and advanced disease, molecular drivers of childhood cancer, and novel approaches to diagnosis and treatment,” said Dr Zorbas.

“For paediatric cancers of low survival, this could include investigation into genetic alterations and endogenous factors that could cause them, such as hereditary predisposition; and the development of novel approaches to diagnosis and treatment, such as genomics-based strategies, immune-based therapies, and molecular target-based therapies.”

Cancer Australia’s research priorities in All Cancers Research relate to specific areas of cancer research, tumour types and populations with poorer cancer outcomes. Key focus areas include origins and causes of cancer; prevention, early detection and treatment of cancer; cancer control, survivorship and outcomes research.

“Cancer research focusing on populations who experience unwarranted variations and poorer cancer outcomes is strongly encouraged,” said Dr Zorbas. “This includes variations by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status, socioeconomic status and geographic location.”

In addition to specific research priorities in lung and gynaecological cancers, the 2018 PdCCRS prioritises specific tumour types including cancers of the lung, colon, rectum and pancreas, cancer of unknown primary, lymphoma and cancers of the kidney, bladder, stomach or oesophagus.

“Partnerships are critical to delivering high quality cancer research across identified priority areas that will have an impact on increasing survival,” said Dr Zorbas.

“Cancer Australia is delighted to partner with nine Funding Partners across Childhood Cancers of Low Survival and All Cancers Research for the 2018 round of the PdCCRS, bringing together government and non-government organisations in a coordinated approach to maximise investment and optimise cancer research outcomes.”

The call for applications to the PdCCRS opens 10 January 2018 and close at 5:00pm AEDT 14 March 2018. Applications to the 2018 PdCCRS funding round will be for funding commencing in 2019.

More information about the 2018 PdCCRS can be found on the Cancer Australia website and GrantConnect.