Childhood Cancer Research
15-year-old Jack is thriving today because of Pioneering Childhood Cancer Research.
Jack was just nine years old when he was diagnosed with a devastating brain tumour. An initial operation was successful, but, just a year later, Jack woke up with a terrible headache and started vomiting. Soon after, he was in unbearable pain so his mum Viv took him to the hospital.
Scans showed that the tumour had not only come back, it had spread from his brain through to the bottom of his spine. No treatments seemed to be working and lumbar punctures became a weekly requirement to relieve the pressure and provide temporary relief from the pain. He was no longer able to walk and was close to losing his sight.
This is when Jack was enrolled on the world-leading Zero Childhood Cancer Precision Medicine Program, run in partnership by Children’s Cancer Institute and the Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital.
A sample of Jack’s tumour was sent to the labs at Children’s Cancer Institute, where researchers analysed the specific genetic make-up of Jack’s tumour. They were able to identify a specific genetic mutation which was likely to be driving its aggressive growth. They then discovered a combination of drugs that could target the mutation, and a new personalised treatment plan was recommended.
Within days, Jack’s condition improved. He began sitting up in bed, wanting to move around. Six weeks later, he wasn’t just out of the wheelchair – he was playing tennis! Today, Jack is still going strong, back at school and active as ever.
“It was truly amazing to see the researchers and clinicians working together, it was like watching magic unfold,” says Viv.
Children’s Cancer Institute is the only medical research institute in Australia solely dedicated to childhood cancer. Community support is vital to pioneer life-saving research like Zero Childhood Cancer so that one day, every child can be cured of cancer and go on to live a long and healthy life. Find out more at ccia.org.au.