• February 7, 2019

New research boost to give sick kids a better life

Personalised medicine is within reach for more children than ever before thanks to a $20 million NSW Government investment into paediatric medical research.

Launching the new Paediatric Precision Medicine (PPM) initiative at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead today, Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the funding  would give leading researchers in NSW the momentum/resources/boost they need to deliver precise therapies for children with cancer and genetic disease.

“This investment into research and approach to treatment has the potential to be life changing,” Mr Hazzard said.

“We are hoping to transform the treatment for diseases that could not be previously well managed or treated. The ultimate goal is to cure these conditions or improve the lives of children affected so significantly that they no longer need to live with the lifelong effects.”

The initiative, which is being coordinated by Paediatrio* will bring together leading researchers from Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, Children’s Medical Research Institute and Children’s Cancer Institute to deliver precise therapies for children with cancer and genetic disease.

The first stage of the initiative is funded by a $5 million investment from the NSW Government, and is part of a $24 million total investment over the next four years.

Consisting of six individual projects, the PPM initiative will focus on a range of chronic conditions including cancer, metabolic liver disease, blinding eye disease, cystic fibrosis and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

Acting Executive Officer of Paediatrio, Professor Chris Cowell, said the collaborative approach would see researchers working specifically with gene sequencing and disease modeling technologies to develop innovative and novel therapies that target each child’s individual condition.

“Precision medicine is part of a transformation of how medicine can be delivered to children with cancer and complex genetic diseases. It’s about ensuring the right child receives the right treatment at the right time,” Prof Cowell said.

“The PPM initiative recognises that each child’s disease is unique. It has seen research shift from a general understanding of a disease to an evaluation of how precision medicine can deliver better outcomes for children and families right across NSW.

“This approach is radical and our researchers are leading the country in this field. Right now, we are ahead of the game and I, personally, feel that there has never been a more exciting time in research or medicine.”

*Paediatrio is now known as Luminesce Alliance