Children's brain cancer biobank gives hope for the future

15 Feb 2023
Children's brain cancer biobank gives hope for the future

There’s cause for optimism today on International Childhood Cancer Day, as South Australia sets its sights on becoming a leader in children’s brain cancer research; with the state’s first paediatric brain tumour biobank now operational.

Dubbed ‘Brain Turbo SA’, the biobank is being spearheaded by renowned brain cancer specialist and McClurg Brain Cancer Fellow at SAHMRI, Professor Jordan Hansford and is being used to study child brain tumours into the future.

“We’re going to learn about survivorship, we’re going to learn about diseases and we’re going to learn how to continually improve patient care,” Prof Hansford said.

“The biobank will ultimately give us the answers to questions we wouldn’t otherwise be able to find and that will mean saving lives.”

The biobank will enable researchers and clinicians to build on current knowledge of the different types of brain tumours and better understand how survivors’ health is impacted over time.

Utilising this growing body of hard evidence, researchers will be able to show the implications specific tumour types have on various functions such as cognition, cardiovascular health and hearing.

“Our molecular knowledge of tumours has expanded over the past decade, giving us new insight into the health of those currently living with brain cancer and a greater understanding of how to treat patients for better results,” Prof Hansford said.

“The most exciting part is this is only the beginning.”

Brain Turbo SA has been established thanks to collaborative funding that includes $350,000 from My Room Children’s Cancer Charity and another $350,000 from the Robert Connor Dawes Foundation, $15,000 of which was donated by the charity, Zoe’s Fight, in the legacy of Zoe Stanley who died of incurable brain cancer at age five. The NeuroSurgical Research Foundation has also contributed a further $150,000 over three years.

“We’re extremely thankful for the support of our charity partners, without whom this wouldn’t be possible,” Prof Hansford said.

“We’re looking to find further funding to expand on this important project and ensure it continues to grow into the world-leading resource it has the potential to be as we begin to care for children across the country when the Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research opens.”

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