The expansion of ZERO, a precision medicine program for children with cancer, was announced on February 15th at The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.
The program, led in partnership by Children’s Cancer Institute and the Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, includes all nine of Australia’s children’s hospitals as well as 22 national and international research partners. Until now, only those Australian children with the highest-risk cancers were offered access to the full program. Thanks to joint funding from the Australian Government and Minderoo Foundation to the tune of $67million, the ZERO Childhood Cancer Program will be rolled out to include children diagnosed with any type of cancer by the end of 2023.
Based on the premise that every child’s cancer is unique, sophisticated genomic analysis is undertaken for each child enrolled in ZERO. Scientists will look for genetic alterations that may be driving the cancer’s growth, then search for drugs capable of targeting those alterations. This information is returned to the clinicians treating the child to help inform their decision-making.
In the expanded ZERO program, genomic analysis will occur from the time of diagnosis for every child enrolled, allowing the tracking of the way each child’s cancer changes in response to treatment. Analysing the cancer journey of up to 1000 young Australians each year in this way will contribute substantially to the global body of understanding of children’s cancer.
The Australian and New Zealand Children’s Haematology and Oncology Group (ANZCHOG) is the sponsor of the ZERO2 study, the clinical trial component of the ZERO program. Building on the work of the PRecISion Medicine for Children With Cancer (PRISM) study which commenced in 2017, the cancer trials are a core element of the full ZERO Childhood Cancer Program.
For more information about ZERO, please visit: https://www.zerochildhoodcancer.org.au/
ANZCHOG is a non-profit organisation committed to ensuring Australian and New Zealand children receive world-class cancer care. We are the peak professional body for paediatric oncologists and health professionals who care for children with cancer, spearheading national initiatives to enhance clinical care through communication, research, networking and education. We are also the national cooperative clinical trials group for childhood cancer, actively working with trial consortia around the globe to ensure Australian and New Zealand children have the opportunity to access the latest promising cancer treatments.