Research Report 2000

In 2000 the research unit at the Royal Children’s Hospital became an approved National Cancer Institute Phase I Centre for testing new chemotherapies and other agents in children with refractory tumours. Five patients had been treated with great success as part of these Phase I studies. 2000 also saw the incorporation of the first vaccine studies for neuroblastoma. Dr David Ashley reported as follows.

Our laboratory endeavours continue. In tumour immunology our vaccine program continues to look at innovative ways of creating anti-tumour vaccines for childhood tumours and our work also continues on understanding mechanisms by which we can kill brain tumour cells. In molecular oncology, Dr Algar’s work undertaking the molecular analysis of the WTI genes has expanded to brain tumours and may, in fact, be a useful marker of the disease and involved in the basic cause of brain tumours. Work continues on examining the Beckworth-Wiedermann syndrome and its relationship to Wilm’s tumour and tumour risk. We are also studying the role of the molecule stim 1 in embryonal tumours of childhood and brain tumours.