For the past 30 years, I have been working at the Children’s Cancer Institute, where I am the Deputy Director. My research focuses on using molecular genetic technologies to improve the diagnosis and treatment of children with cancer. One of my proudest achievements so far has been the development of unique technology that enables the early prediction of relapse in children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. This technology has led to a major change in the clinical management of children with leukaemia today.
Together with my colleagues, the next stage of our research is to look at new treatments for kids with high-risk or relapsed leukaemia. Traditional anti-cancer drugs are very toxic, and sadly this can cause serious health problems that follow cancer survivors into their adulthood. To address this, we are going to introduce what we call ‘targeted’ treatments for leukaemia. These drugs are designed to kill the cancer cells while being less toxic to the healthy cells of the body, which in turn will help reduce treatment side effects.
I work very closely with my clinical colleagues, and this allows us to more rapidly translate the discoveries we make in the lab out into the cancer wards as quickly as possible. We could not do this without the help of Cancer Council NSW and their community fundraising. They have supported me and my fellow researchers at the Children’s Cancer Institute for many years.
Some of the big results we’ve achieved have been thanks to Cancer Council NSW and their commitment to supporting the research community in Australia.