Chemo hope for cancer kids

Author: UNSWTV

How old do you reckon these trees are, mate? Um, 75, 50 years. 50 years old? Our son was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 5. We were devastated by the news. It was a bit of a shock to us. He has been through very significant treatment, which is very, very hard on the young kids. The good news is that Aidan has survived his treatment and is back at school now enjoying himself, but there are plenty of parents that aren't so lucky. There are terrible situations in hospital where many kids are losing their life each week. Neuroblastoma is one of the most lethal forms of childhood cancer.

One of the problems with neuroblastoma is children that have been diagnosed with high‑grade disease have little in the way of treatment, so we've developed a new class of anticancer compounds which target the structure of the cancer cell. Professor Peter Gunning and Dr Justine Stehn are working on a program that may change the face of cancer medicine. So, the way this works, it's like watching a building collapse on television.

We're actually dynamiting the insides of the cell and causing its overall structure to collapse, really destroying the internal girders, the struts, the supports on the inside -- the cell collapses, the cell dies. The reality is it's the same structure that you see in essentially every kind of cancer cell. So we can't just go after blastoma here, we can go after any kind of tumour. The challenge with cancer research for children is that governments and corporations are generally only wanting to fund to the next phase.

So when you have people like Peter Gunning who have a theory about cell structures and want to take something in a new direction there is very little funding. The Kids Cancer Project has been funding this research now for almost 10 years. For people like my wife and I, that gives us hope because we're looking for the new thing to help save our children from this dreadful disease.

Chemo hope for cancer kids

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