A four-year partnership between the Australian Lions Childhood Cancer Research Foundation (ALCCRF) and the Garvan Institute has meant that children with high-risk cancers have received more tailored therapies based on the DNA sequencing of their individual tumors.
The Lions Kids Cancer Genome Project joined the Zero Childhood Cancer Project in 2016, but the ability to sequence the cancer genome of hundreds of children required significant investment.
The need was met by the commitment and passion of the Lions Club International Foundation, the Australian Lions Childhood Cancer Research Foundation and Lions Clubs around Australia – raising $4 million in total.
Lions set out with an ambitious goal of sequencing the genome of tumour samples from 400 children and was spearheaded by Prof Dziadek and Prof David Thomas, Head of the Genomic Cancer Medicine Lab at the Garvan Institute and Director of The Kinghorn Cancer Centre.
Through global and local fundraising, including a grass-roots drive that appealed to Australians to collect spare change to support the pioneering cancer research, Lions raised a significant $4 million for the Lions Kids Cancer Genome Project. This crucial investment made it possible to sequence the 400 tumour samples, completing a major milestone in 2020.
Dr Joe Collins, Chairman of the Lions Kids Cancer Genome Project, says: “We are thrilled to have invested in this visionary project. To see it make such a difference for kids that have no options left is truly remarkable. The legacy that this project has left is that we’ve not only saved a number of children, we’ve helped establish a database that is going to help kids all over the world. Without Lion’s ’funding, this project may not have happened.”