The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) has awarded $180,000 in funding to support preclinical trials to help improve treatment for infants diagnosed with high-risk leukaemia.
The research will be conducted within the Telethon Kids Cancer Centre in Perth over the next two years.
“The funding has been awarded to Dr Rishi Kotecha and his team at the Telethon Kids Institute, with the aim to ultimately develop international clinical trials for infants with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia,” RACP President Dr Catherine Yelland explained.
“Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is the most common form of cancer in children. While its cause is unknown, research suggests it is driven by mutations in one or more genes that leads to an overproduction of white blood cells.
“We are hopeful that Dr Kotecha’s research can translate into clinical practice in the field of oncology and treating childhood cancer.
“A grant from The Kids’ Cancer Project has made this funding possible and we thank them for their dedication to funding scientific research to help children with different types of cancer.”
Owen Finegan, The Kids’ Cancer Project CEO is delighted with Dr Kotecha’s initiative.
“We’re thrilled to be able work in partnership with the RACP Foundation to award funding to innovative and collaborative research projects,” Mr Finegan said.
“The Kids’ Cancer Project mission is to support bold science that has the greatest chance of clinical success,” he said. “Not only does this project support that mandate, but by creating the inaugural Establishment Fellowship grant in our name, we are future proofing childhood cancer research.”
Dr Kotecha, who will lead the project at the Telethon Kids Institute, welcomed the funding.
“Infants with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, who are less than one year of age, have an extremely poor survival rate,” Dr Kotecha said.
“Our research will try to identify novel drugs which can be used to treat and improve outcomes for infants diagnosed with this disease.”
“I would like to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for the ongoing support of The Kids’ Cancer Project to our work and also to childhood cancer research throughout Australia.”
The funding was provided by the inaugural Kids' Cancer Project Research Establishment Fellowship offered through the RACP Foundation.
The Fellowship aims to foster the growth of physician-scientists specialising in paediatric oncology and increase capacity for bench to bedside medicine, ultimately funding cures for childhood cancer.