Late effects of cancer therapy:
Associate Professor Richard Cohn is the leader of the late-effects program at SCH. He, together with collaborators at the CCIA, have worked together for more than five years to establish the SCH late-effects cohort.
The cohort is being expanded to include adult survivors treated as children throughout NSW, aiming at a NSW-wide cohort of more than 1000 adult survivors. The cohort is being investigated clinically for identification of adverse events and molecularly to better understand cancer initiation and risk factors for adverse events and how preventative measures can decrease the rate of incidence of cancer and deaths caused by cancer.
A recently published study from the program confirmed that the rates of metabolic syndrome are increased in survivors of childhood cancer, and represents the largest cohort reported to date. Collaboration with researchers in the field of exercise physiology and epigenetics is aiming to improve understanding of the molecular events that result in insulin resistance. Pilot studies in the program are looking at preventive strategies in at-risk individuals to reduce long-term morbidity by reinforcing healthy lifestyles, motivating positive behaviour changes, helping to target preventive therapy and aiding in better focusing surveillance studies, including the risk of second malignant neoplasms. A student thesis co-supervised by A/Prof Cohn, on the incidence of selected late sequelae in the hospital based cohort of Australian cancer survivors, focusing on treatment and genetic factors which may modify the risk of late sequelae, has recently been awarded a PhD.