Kids Cancer Centre (KCC) is a large multi-disciplinary department with medical and psychosocial expertise in looking after children and adolescents with cancer and blood disorders. Over the past 50 years of operation, staff have made significant research contributions to the fields of treatment, diagnostics, cancer biology, bone marrow transplantation, survivorship, nursing, and medication safety, which have all played a role in the success we see today.
In treating children with cancer, clinical research and clinical trials are embedded in and inseparable from clinical care, providing patients and families access to innovative treatments. Approximately 80% of patients treated at the Centre are enrolled in a clinical trial, which is managed through by the KCC clinical trials team.
A large component of clinical research at KCC also explores psychosocial support for children and families affected by cancer. This research is conducted by a multi-disciplinary team of experts in the Behavioural Sciences Unit. They evaluate many of the challenges families face from the time their child is diagnosed through to survivorship or bereavement, and use this to inform and improve service provisions. Health services research is also conducted by the adolescent and young adult (AYA) team, who have used their research to implement a number of age-appropriate services for 15 – 25 year olds with cancer.
Another strength of the KCC research program is in late-effects, which explores the long-term side effects of childhood cancer treatment that can manifest later in life. Over many years, the research team have established a world-class cohort of childhood cancer survivors in NSW, which can be analysed to identify health implications and to develop interventions to reduce their impact on quality of life.
The Kids Cancer Centre has a strong partnership with the Children's Cancer Institute (CCI), where many of the clinicians are also involved with laboratory research programs. In collaboration with CCI, KCC co-leads the Zero Childhood Cancer initiative, a world-class program that brings together all major Australian clinical and research groups working in childhood cancer to offer Australia’s first ever personalised medicine program for children with high-risk or relapsed cancer.
The research team
Professor Tracey O’Brien, Director of Kids Cancer Centre
Tracey is the Director of the Kids Cancer Centre, head of the Blood and Marrow Transplant program at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, a Clinical Research Fellow at the Children’s Cancer Institute and Professor at UNSW Sydney in the School of Women’s & Children’s Health. She has a broad research portfolio with interest in clinical transplant outcomes, health system research and bioethics. For more information please visit Tracey’s Zero Childhood Cancer profile page.
Professor Glenn Marshall AM, Clinical Director of Zero Childhood Cancer
As a senior oncologist at KCC, Glenn’s longstanding research interests have been the clinical problems of detection and treatment of relapsed acute leukaemia in children, and the cause, prevention and treatment of embryonal child cancer. His other research interest is improving learning and educational access for children being treated for chronic disease. As well as being the Clinical Director of Zero Childhood Cancer, he is also head of Translational Research at the CCI, and leads the Molecular Carcinogenesis research program there. For more information please visit Glenn’s Zero Childhood Cancer profile page.
Professor Claire Wakefield, Head of the Behavioural Sciences Unit
Claire Wakefield is a Professor in the School of Women’s & Children’s Health, UNSW Medicine, and leads one of Australia’s largest psycho-oncology research groups - the Behavioural Sciences Unit. Her research interests surround improving mental health and quality of life in families affected by paediatric and adolescent cancer, using cost-effective interventions, novel technologies, discovery research to identify at-risk and underserviced groups and translational work to affect change in clinical practice. For more information please visit Claire’s UNSW profile page.
Professor Richard Cohn, Head of the Late-Effects Program
As head of the Late-Effects program at KCC, Richard’s research interests focus on cancer survivorship and the late effects of cancer and its treatment in long-term survivors. In 2001, he founded the Behavioural Sciences Unit, championing the importance of research studies which cover all psycho-social and behavioural aspects of paediatric cancer, and working to translate these research findings into clinical practice within the hospital. For more information please visit Richard’s CCI profile page.
Associate Professor David Ziegler, Head of the Clinical Trials Program
David is a senior Staff Specialist at KCC, where he has established a translational research program, with special interest in early phase trials to treat children with cancer, and heads the Centre’s clinical trials unit. David is also a Group Leader at the Children’s Cancer Institute where his preclinical research focuses on novel therapies for childhood brain tumours. For more information visit David’s Zero Childhood Cancer profile page.
Dr Antoinette Anazodo, Director of Sydney Youth Cancer Service
Antoinette is the Director of the Sydney Youth Cancer Services collaboration between Sydney Children’s Hospital and Price of Wales Hospital, and has an interest in sexual health, sexual dysfunction and fertility in adolescent and young adult cancer patients. Antoinette also leads the international Future Fertility program, who are committed to making a difference in the development of biological, medical and psychological studies that will advance our knowledge and care of patient’s sexual health and fertility potential following successful cancer treatment. For more information visit Antionette’s Future Fertility profile page.
Dr Toby Trahair
Toby is a staff specialist at KCC and clinical research fellow at CCI. His laboratory research focuses on the initiation and progression of leukaemia, mechanisms of drug resistance in leukaemia and the sensitive detection of residual tumour cells. For more information see Toby’s UNSW profile page.
Dr Richard Mitchell
Richard is the deputy director of the Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program at KCC and the current chair of the ANZCHOG Bone Marrow Transplantation subgroup. His research interests include high risk leukaemia and non-malignant transplantation, and he currently leads a national trial in the using parental stem cells in paediatric patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation. For more information see Richard’s UNSW profile page.
Other research team members:
• Dr Draga Barbaric
• Dr Susan Russell
• Dr Lauretta Lau
• Dr Ursula Sansom-Daly
• Dr Joanna Fardell
• Bernard Yau, KCC clinical research manager