When considering the KCA approach to the Translational Cancer Research Centre goals it is worth highlighting some key differences between child and adult oncology environment.
Nearly 300 children are diagnosed annually with cancer in NSW, and, unlike adult cancer care, more than 95% of children are cared for at one of three child cancer centres in Newcastle, Randwick and Westmead.
Both Randwick and Westmead campuses have Paediatric Oncologists trained in the care of the 250 Adolescent and Young Adult cancer patients diagnosed in NSW annually. This concentration of clinical practice has ensured:
- More than 60% of all child cancer patients are treated on clinical trials
- Close links to international paediatric oncology trials groups
- Rapid adoption of new and diagnostics and therapies
- 30 year history of biobanking primary tumour tissues.
- 30 hear history of multi-disciplinary team meetings of specialist medical,
nursing and allied health professional
The “normal” standards of care have resulted in an overall survival rate for childhood cancers of more than 80%. However, 20% of children are not Cured and most relapsed patients will die of their disease.
The cost of supportive care for treatment of side-effects now far exceeds the cost of the anticancer drugs. Moreover, one third of the more than 7,000 NSW child cancer survivors today will suffer severe long-term health effects as a consequence of their successful therapy.