A global action plan to tackle one of the most aggressive types of childhood brain tumours will be developed as a result of an unprecedented meeting of international experts in Western Australia.
Funded by The Telethon Adventurers, the 3-day ‘Global Symposium on Childhood Brain Tumours’ has ended with a promise from leading scientists, oncologists and neurosurgeons to develop a joint battle plan against the invasive brain tumour medulloblastoma.
More than 50 experts from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Europe, New Zealand and Australia came together to share the latest research, data and treatment options for the disease, which aggressively targets young children, primarily under the age of five.
Symposium Co-convenors Dr Amar Gajjar from St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis and Dr Nick Gottardo from the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth say the collaboration is a crucial step forward in targeting and treating childhood cancer.
Dr Gajjar says the group has agreed on a number of key initiatives including the establishment of joint trans-Atlantic clinical trials. They will look at the development and sharing of laboratory models to identify causes of the disease, establish potential targets and assess new therapies.
The Telethon Adventurers will also support the development of high throughput screening capabilities at the Telethon Institute in Perth.
“Essentially this means we will be able to carry out millions of tests in rapid time to allow us to indentify compounds, antibodies or genes that could eventually lead to the development of new drugs and better treatment for medulloblastoma,” the Telethon Institute’s Dr Gottardo said.
The Global Symposium was the culmination of a two year dream by Telethon Adventurers Founder Rick Parish who declared war on cancer after his 4 year old son Elliot died two years ago from medulloblastoma.
In addition to funding the Global Symposium, The Telethon Adventurers today announced extra money to establish a central coordinator to further develop the global action plan against childhood brain tumours as well as an extra $1million to support programs and initiatives.
“I’ve been blown away by the dedication and passion of this group to rid our kids of brain tumours. My personal fight is now their global crusade and I feel incredibly proud to have helped make this happen,” said Mr Parish.
The outcomes of the three-day Global Symposium on Brain Tumours will be presented at a public forum featuring some of the leading experts tonight at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Subiaco.