Finding cures for children's genetic diseases


Career support for young cancer researchers


There is often a forgotten voice in research, but organisations like Cure Cancer and Can Too are trying to combat that by supporting our young scientists at the beginning of their career.

Last week, Cure Cancer held an event at Children’s Medical Research Institute to show their supporters how they’re helping our cutting-edge research, and Can Too, who also fund CMRI’s work through Cure Cancer, came along to hear about the science first hand.

Cure Cancer only supports early-career cancer researchers. Over the past 25 years, they have raised $69.1 million, which has led to 515 grants going to young researchers. They receive funding from Can Too, who aim to spend 70 per cent of their donations on cancer research.

Cure Cancer Chief Executive Officer, Nikki Kinloch, said their mission was to make this the last generation to die from cancer.

“For us, funding early-career researchers is allowing them to take their first step,’’ she said. “We work with the top 1 per cent of researchers - the best of the best.’’

In the past, Cure Cancer has funded CMRI’s Director Professor Roger Reddel, and in total, has given more than $1 million to CMRI.

“I think it is really important what Cure Cancer does,’’ Prof Reddel said. “They are doing something that is just so valuable in getting young researchers on their feet. They have lots of energy and lots of ideas, and this gets them going. That’s why I’m proud to be associated with them.’’

This year, Cure Cancer funded CMRI researcher, Dr Vivien Silva Kahl, who gave the group a presentation about her work with telomeres and a new method that could assist in the identification of cancer and better targeting treatments.

“Innovation is one of the most important parts of medical research, we need it to move forward. Most of our research can be translated to other diseases, and we foresee that our methods can skyrocket research.

“Our methods will get better results for diagnosis and treatment and could apply to every patient with every kind of cancer. We don’t lack good ideas, we just lack money.’’

Her colleague, Dr Alex Sobinoff, won a Cure Cancer grant in 2016 and said it was priceless.

“I can’t begin to explain how important that grant was. A big bottle neck in Australian science is in your early career. I’d say this grant was fundamental in getting me a fellowship and otherwise good ideas just get wasted if they don’t get funded. If we don’t fund early career researchers, we will have this brain drain where they will all leave.’’