Early Phase Clinical Trials


During the past few decades there has been a dramatic increase in the cure rates for children with cancer. The result is that more than 75% of all children with cancer are now cured. The team is working on the development of new therapies that will increase this cure rate even further, and at the same time reduce treatment side effects. In helping to achieve this goal the team is fortunate that in recent years there has been a dramatic increase in our understanding of the molecular and genetic changes that result in the formation and progression of tumours in children. The team is currently using this knowledge to develop new drugs that are even better and ‘smarter’ than the currently available therapies. 

Unlike chemotherapy, this new generation of anticancer agents does not kill all dividing cells in the body. Instead, they act to specifically attack cancer cells by targeting their unique molecular characteristics. The hope is that these new agents will prove efficacious in both eradicating tumour cells and, at the same time, causing less debilitating side effects such as neutropenia, hair loss and mucositis. 

To achieve this, an Early Phase Clinical Trials Centre was established as part of the Kids Cancer Centre (KCC) at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick (SCH). The Centre works with scientists, physicians, pharmaceutical companies, and international collaborators to find the most promising results in laboratory research and translate these findings to benefit children with cancer. The primary focus is on children whose disease does not respond to standard therapy, or for whom no effective cure is available. By opening Phase I and Phase II trials, the Centre is able to offer potentially effective new treatments to these children.

The team’s firm belief is that the next few years will see the development of new cancer cures and it is a goal to ensure that Australian children with cancer will be amongst the first in the world to receive these new and efficacious treatments. 

The early phase research program has been proudly supported by Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation, Australian Lions Childhood Cancer Research Foundation, The Steven Walter Foundation, the Kids with Cancer Foundation and the NSW Cancer Institute.

At any one time the Kids Cancer Centre has between 25 and 50 open clinical trials allowing patients access to state of the art treatment protocols.

For more information on these clinical trials please contact A/Prof David Ziegler (02) 9382 1730 or d.ziegler@unsw.edu.au