This morning we got a visit from our Prime Minister!
Shalev was busy playing his iPad, but did manage to spare the camera man a few seconds to do a “blue steel” impression. That is a picture of Shalev on Ketamine and Fentanyl, a few hours prior to his immunotherapy infusion busy playing his iPad
It was very heartening to get the attention, paediatric cancers are very underfunded, bringing this to the public’s attention is a good thing.
The “zero childhood cancer initiative” is a new 20 million dollar grant to fund sequencing and targeted treatment for childhood cancers in Australia.
There are some details about the plans in the press:
CCI’s website has a pretty in depth explanation
My understanding of the program in bullet points
Available to all childhood cancers with 30% survival rates or less (in NB’s case this would be relapse or refractory)
Germline and tumor DNA will be sequenced on diagnostics and analyzed. (probably RNA expression as well, but need to confirm exact details)
Individualised mouse models and cell lines will be tested against a series of experimental drugs (which is very exciting)
Treatment will guided by the above
The plan is to eventually expand this to all childhood cancer
I think this is very exciting and hope Australia manage to innovate in this space, personally I feel like this is absolutely the direction we should be going.