Childhood cancer patient holding stuffed animal

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute has welcomed a $35 million investment from the State Government towards a childhood cancer treatment initiative.

The Victorian Paediatric Cancer Consortium (VPCC), co-led by Murdoch Children's and the Hudson Institute of Medical Research, has secured the funding in the Victorian 2023-24 state budget.

The funding is in addition to a $10 million investment from the Children’s Cancer Foundation and previous support from the federal government.

Almost 1,000 children are diagnosed with cancer every year across Australia. The VPCC will ensure the latest research discoveries quickly reach young patients by discovering and rolling out new therapies for bloods cancers, as well as cancers with low survival rates, including brain, bone and soft tissue cancers.

Experts will also investigate ways to minimise or prevent severe long-term side effects from chemotherapy or radiotherapy, with some children experiencing damage to their organs from the treatments.

Murdoch Children's Professor David Eisenstat, who is head of clinical innovation at the VPCC, said the initiative would save and change lives.

“The VPCC will revolutionise research into childhood cancer – leading to earlier diagnosis, better treatments and less heartbreak for families,” he said.

“This cutting-edge initiative spans genomics, drug screening, disease modelling, biobanking and AI-based precision medicine, it’s an incredible investment.”

The $45 million initiative will be rolled out over the next five years and includes researchers and clinicians from The Royal Children’s Hospital, Monash Children's Hospital, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, WEHI, Monash University and the University of Melbourne.