Neuroblastoma

The Kids Cancer Centre (KCC) is one of the leading centres for neuroblastoma research in Australia.  Work covers the entire spectrum from preclinical laboratory research, to the development of clinical trials testing new treatments for children with neuroblastoma. 

In partnership with the Children’s Cancer Institute, Australia, KCC has an extensive laboratory research program devoted to understanding the factors that lead to the development and progression of neuroblastoma.  Led by Professor Glenn Marshall, this work has resulted in several discoveries that have helped identify the genetic changes that make neuroblastoma cells malignant.  Dr David Ziegler has worked to help identify the factors that make neuroblastoma cells resistant to treatment and behave aggressively.  Importantly, these discoveries have helped lead to the development of new treatments, and ultimately, may result in strategies to prevent the development of the tumours in patients with a genetic predisposition to the disease.

A large part of the research has focused on the development of new treatments for children with neuroblastoma.  The team at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick (SCH)are responsible for developing the first Australian, investigator initiated, early phase clinical trials to test new treatments for children with neuroblastoma that have relapsed after standard therapy.  These ground breaking trials include a study testing the combination of Valproate and Interferon, and a trial testing an agent called DFMO in combination with cytotoxic chemotherapy and celebrex.  Several other early phase trials are currently in development and will be offered to Australian children with neuroblastoma in coming years.

The Kids Cancer Centre has joined forces with large international groups to test new treatment strategies in large multinational Phase III trials. The centre works closely with both the North American Children’s Oncology Group and the European SIOPEN group to ensure children with newly diagnosed tumours receive state-of-the-art treatment regimens.  The team, led by Dr Toby Trahair, has helped demonstrate that treatment with a novel anti-GD2 antibody therapy can improve the cure rates for children with neuroblastoma, and that using a bone marrow transplant with busulphan conditioning results in improved survival. 

To support research into new and better treatments for neuroblastoma, please see here.