We are very excited to let you know that funding has been secured for a major global clinical trial for a drug that was developed as a result of pioneering collaborative research at Telethon Kids Institute.
This trial is one of four childhood brain cancer clinical trials to be funded nationally as part of $4.5m in Federal Government and philanthropic funding.

The clinical trial, known as SJ-ELiOT, will be led by the St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the world’s biggest childhood brain cancer research centre in Memphis, Tennessee will test a drug whose potential application was discovered as part of a drug discovery effort at the Brain Tumour Research Program at the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth.

The trial is for children who have developed medulloblastoma, which is the most common malignant brain cancer that children can get, and will initially involve children who have relapsed with the disease who otherwise have very few, if any, viable treatment options.

Pre-clinical trials for the drug, which inhibits some of the protective mechanisms a cell can have when it’s been damaged by chemotherapy or radiotherapy, were commenced five years ago at Telethon Kids Institute. The promising results were shared early with international collaborators, including St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, so the results could be independently validated. These characteristics of the drug mean that it interferes with the ability of the cell to repair itself, therefore making chemotherapy or radiotherapy used in the treatment of the cancer more effective.

“SJ-ELiOT is a multi-institutional collaborative trial born out of Australian preclinical laboratory research that will be conducted in three continents including Australia, USA and Europe, inspired by and named in honour of Elliot,” Professor Gottardo said.

The potential benefits of this new drug are to make chemotherapy more effective – helping to cure more children on the one hand while also potentially allowing doctors to dial down the dose of damaging radiation and chemotherapy drugs.