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Children's Cancer Institute

The Children's Cancer Institute was initially referred to as The Children's Leukemia and Cancer Foundation was founded by doctors and parents of children having cancer.

The Children's Cancer Institute was initially referred to as The Children's Leukemia and Cancer Foundation and was set up in May of 1976 by a committed group of doctors and parents of children having cancer.

For the family of Lough from Wollongong NSW and the family of Kasses from Childers Queensland, the year 1975 was a very challenging year. The daughter of Jack and Annette Kasses' (Helen), and the son of John and Margaret Lough's (Robbie), had all been diagnosed with life threatening leukemia and their entire lives had been thrown into total chaos. Robbie and Helen were being taken care of at Sydney Children's Hospital.

Whilst it was apparent that the medics were doing all that was possible to cure those children under their care, it appeared that extremely little was being performed anywhere else in Australia towards conducting research into the matter of childhood cancer. It became apparent that there was a need for such research. Hundreds of children were getting diagnosed with cancer annually and just about half were getting cured with the available treatments.

Consequent to the loss of his son to the disease, John Lough made an approach to his club in Wollongong, the Apex Club, to support the raising of money for scientific research into childhood cancer. This campaign came to be a national Apex effort, and was deemed the "Help a Kid Make It" campaign, targeting $1 million towards facilitating research into childhood cancer.

Before the 1960s, childhood cancer was nearly always fatal. As a result of huge advances in medical research today, the rate of survival has risen to 80%. Nevertheless, almost three children are still dying from cancer weekly. Children's Cancer Institute is determined to save such children.

Initially set up as a foundation funding the several small research projects being then undertaken, CCI opened its own research labs in the year 1984. From that time, Children's Cancer Institute has developed to employing in excess of 150 staff plus medical students, and has set up a national and global reputation for great scientific excellence.

Currently, the Institute remains the sole institute conducting independent medical research in Australia dedicated to the research of the causes, the prevention and into curing of childhood cancer. The whole time of their existence, the CCI vision has continued unchanged - saving lives of all children having cancer and eliminating their suffering.

The Vision

In Australia, yearly in excess of 625 children get diagnosed with cancer. Weekly, nearly 3 children in Australia are going to die of cancer. The Children's Cancer Institute vision is to save lives of all children with cancer and reducing their suffering.

Research Activities

CCI is the sole institute conducting independent medical research in Australia dedicated to childhood cancer and its management. The focus is on translational research, ensuring discoveries progress into actual viable treatments for children having cancer as speedily as possible.

Programs & Groups

The Children's Cancer Institute's research agenda brings together renowned leaders in the cancer field under a common goal of eventually promoting enhanced health outcomes for children having cancer. The programs working towards understanding cancer of the child so that it can be prevented from occurring, searching for more effectual diagnoses, examining safer and better options of treatment and ultimately finding a cure for this disease. The overriding research theme is finding a more individualized and targeted approach to treatment and diagnostics.

Scientific Facilities

The Children's Cancer Institute's state-of-the-art laboratories are constituent of the international recognized Lowly Cancer Research Center located at the UNSW in Australia. The labs are fully equipped for genetic and molecular research studies. They comprise facilities for the banking of human tumour specimens, microscopy, fluorescence activated cell sorting, live cell imaging, real-time PCR analysis and proteomic analysis.

The Children's Cancer Institute also hosts the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (Drug Discovery Centre (DDC) which is an exceptional facility that is devoted to the expansion of new anti-cancer therapeutics.

Services Offered

The Institute has a state-of-the-art lab fully equipped for advanced genetic and molecular research studies.

Facilities and services include:

  • Human tumour specimens banking
  • Real-time PCR analysis.
  • Live cell imaging
  • Proteomic analysis
  • fluorescence activated cell sorting or FACS
  • Microscopy

Drug Discovery Centre

This is a unique facility that is dedicated to the advancement of new and promising anti-cancer therapeutics.

The Drug Discovery Centre (DDC) came into being courtesy of a $3.1 million grant from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) that was awarded to the Children's Cancer Institute Australia for the purpose of buying the essential equipment needed for the Centre. The funds got utilized in securing chemical compound library, the integrated robotics and supplementary capital items associated with target identification, validation and in cell biology.

The ACRF Drug Discovery Centre for Childhood Cancer sustains Australian drug discovery research, offering the medical and cancer research community with useful access to expertise and advanced technology in high-throughput small molecule chemical screening.

Sophisticated automated equipment are housed at the DDC including robotics to handle liquids, multi-well dispensers, reader-based plate detection systems not forgetting screening platform with high content. It includes 160,000 tiny molecules and compound boutique libraries, using advanced data management systems that integrate compound chemical information with biological analysis data.

  • The DDC has industry and academic experience to offer a range of services.
  • The DDC has established networks of top international and national medical and cancer research groups.
  • With the use of advanced technology like compound chemical library and robotics, the DDC uncovers fresh possibilities in support of scientists developing drugs for cancer.

One of the most common cancer types is brain tumours which afflicts children and is most fatal among childhood cancers, thus it is a priority for Institutes personalized in the medicine program.

Thrilled after receiving $25,000 from the Robert Connor Dawes Fund (RCD), the Institute of Children's Cancer for Personalize Medicine Program towards brain tumors is aimed at improving treatment for children that would otherwise have dismal prognoses.

2013 Annual Review

The Institute of Children's Cancer has grown in 2013, in the terms of the whole organisation and in its achievements in research.

The Institute of Children's Cancer is an important player in international research effort of childhood cancer, and contribution is growing fast. At the end of the day, success is measured with the difference created in people's lives; progressively seeing that the work being done is making a difference in the future of children that have cancer and also their families.

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