Finding cures for children's genetic diseases

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With cancer, timing is everything
 

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Jack was diagnosed with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia at the age of 16 months - a cancer that starts in the bone marrow. This childhood cancer now has an almost 90% cure-rate, which is a wonderful outcome of many decades of research. However, a cancer diagnosis in any child is still devastating and Jack’s story was not straightforward.

After diagnosis, Jack immediately began treatment. His treatments continued for two weeks before doctors could see the standard treatment regimen, that is usually successful for this cancer, was not working for him.

With further testing doctors identified additional molecular information – which helped doctors choose the best therapy for Jack. In his case it meant several rounds of high-dose chemotherapy followed by a bone marrow transplant.

This is where ProCan could make a difference.




ProCan is developing a database of key molecular information about all types of cancer.

Our aim is to use this ProCan database to develop technologies that we expect will greatly improve the accuracy of cancer diagnosis for every individual cancer patient and the ability to develop a personalised treatment plan with the greatest likelihood of success.

Even successful treatments can have devastating, life-long side effects.

In Jack's case, his transplant had complications that led to a condition which attacked his liver, kidneys and lungs. He has also had 35 general anaesthetics and while he is now strong and healthy, he is left with sleep disturbances and night terrors. His mum Penny worries about the kids who aren’t so strong.

To tackle this problem, ProCan’s long-term aim is to use its large database to find or develop cancer treatments that are effective but far less toxic.

We are also deeply concerned about the 10% of children with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia for whom there is currently no cure. We expect that ProCan will be part of the solution, helping to find treatment options for children’s cancers that are currently incurable.

Every child’s cancer story is the family’s story – as Jack’s mother Penny articulates, “When you have a child with cancer, it becomes a huge battle. There is the battle against the cancer. There is the battle against the side effects of treatment. There is the battle of uprooting your life.”

This Christmas, give children like Jack a better outlook for the future. 

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Learn more about ProCan and the work being done in the CMRI labs.



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Hear from Jack's Mum Penny.