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Building Excellence in Research Experimental Grant Awards

We are thrilled to acknowledge the recipients of the Building Excellence in Research Travel Grants – Anastasia Hughes and Anthony Buzzai. These worthy recipients have each received a $5000 grant from CLCRF, which has allowed them to attend important conferences to advance their respective research.

Anastasia Hughes, PhD student in the Leukaemia and Cancer Genetics team at the Telethon Kids Institute (TKI), received a grant to attend the 3rd Scientific Workshop on Tumour Microenvironment in the Haematological Malignancies and its Therapeutic Targeting in London from the 24 to 26 February.

This workshop is designed to promote scientific interaction between participants from all over the world and aims to present strategies to target haematological cancers in their tumour microenvironment. Anastasia will be attending this significant workshop with Dr Laurence Cheung, Senior Research Officer of Leukaemia and Cancer Genetics at TKI. Laurence will be using his CLCRF travel allowance from the Block Grant for this excellent opportunity.

Anthony Buzzai, PhD Candidate in the Cancer Immunology Unit at TKI, will be using his grant to attend the Keystone Symposia Cancer Metastasis: The Role of Metabolism, Immunity and the Microenvironment in Florence from the 15 to 19 March. This conference brings together biologists and immunologists who have a common interest in how cellular metabolism influences cell function and it encourages new collaborations between researchers to advance their knowledge.

It is important for the Foundation to continue funding these travel grants in order to provide young researchers with the chance to advance their research. We look forward to hearing more about the excellent opportunity these travel grants have afforded Anastasia and Anthony and we wish them both a safe and successful trip.

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Cannington students donate their mobile phones to support CLCRF

In September 2018, students at the Cannington Community Education Support Centre generously donated their old mobile phones to the Children’s Leukaemia & Cancer Research Foundation (CLCRF) as part of their community engagement and responsibility activities. The students managed to accumulate 29 mobile phones, which they personally dropped off to the CLCRF office.

Not only is recycling old mobile phones environmentally and socially responsible but by donating them to CLCRF, the students have helped to support essential research into childhood cancers. This initiative is made possible through the Aussie Recycling Program (ARP), who donate funds to the Foundation in exchange for receiving old mobile phones.

Mobile phone donations contribute to the optimum recycling solution of re-use, as the recycled phones are either refurbished or sent for material recycling, where materials can be recovered and put back into productive use. This follows the ARP’s environmentally conscious policy to guarantee zero landfill.

CLCRF would like to thank the students of Cannington Community Education Centre for their kind donations and for helping to raise awareness for the Foundation.

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Teddy’s Loving Bequest

Esma Mary Cormack or Teddy as she was known, recently left a bequest of over $30,000 to the Children’s Leukaemia and Cancer Research Foundation. Teddy was 90 years young when she passed away in September 2017.

Teddy had two daughters eight years apart, Sue and Debbie. Debbie passed away at six years of age, after a very long illness back in the 1950s. She was born with a severe liver disease and deformity, with no prospect of a cure. This experience as a parent formed the basis of Teddy’s desire to support and help the most vulnerable. Some years following Debbie’s death, the family moved to Western Australia. Upon making out her Will several years later, the solicitor suggested that Teddy consider making a bequest to a children’s charity. Teddy was excited to think that she could make a difference for children and babies who were very sick and in pain.

It was suggested that CLCRF was a good fit for her wishes as the Foundation funds research into childhood cancer. The goal of this research funded by the Foundation for over 37 years has been to find better protocols for treatment of young children. A bequest such as this will go a long way to help make that happen. This was Teddy’s legacy in remembrance of a cheerful little girl named Deborah Jayne. The Children’s Leukaemia and Cancer Research Foundation are very grateful for Teddy’s generous bequest.

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Katie Lush talks to 89.7fm about the South West Bike Trek

CLCRF’s very own Executive Assistant, Katie Lush, is joining this year’s South West Bike Trek. This morning Katie spoke with Sue Myc on 89.7 Twin Cities FM’s morning show about the ride, what she’s looking forward to and why she feels the need to ride for such a good cause.

In case you missed the interview you can listen below:

 

On Sunday 7 October, 12 riders will embark on a six-day bike ride from Subiaco to Augusta for the Southwest Bike Trek to raise vital funds and awareness for the Children’s Leukaemia and Cancer Research Foundation (CLCRF).

The journey across WA’s iconic South West region, which is more than 300km, will start at Mueller Park, Subiaco, stopping off en route at Fairbridge, Preston Beach, Harvey, Eaton, Busselton and Margaret River before finishing at Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, Augusta on Saturday 13 October.

Childhood cancer is the single greatest cause of death from disease in Australian children, with three children losing their lives to cancer every week. Childhood cancer is second only to breast cancer in terms of the number of years of life lost by the disease.

Donations to the Children’s Leukaemia and Cancer Research Foundation (Inc.) help fund valuable scientific research into childhood cancers. Over the past 30 years CLCRF has made amazing breakthroughs into the treatment children receive. It is because of this research that those children have an opportunity to live long and fulfilling lives.

The first ever SouthWest Bike Trek took place back in 2002 and has raised just under $700,000 for child cancer research projects over 16 years.

If you would like to donate to help Katie and her fellow riders raise vital funds please donate now.

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Riding to Beat Cancer

This year the Southwest Bike Trek promises to be a fantastic fundraising event for the Children’s Leukaemia & Cancer Research Foundation (Inc.) and 12 riders will embark on a six-day bike ride from Subiaco to Augusta to raise money for the CLCRF. The 588 km journey and will start at Mueller Park, Subiaco, stop en route at Fairbridge, Preston Beach, Harvey, Eaton, Busselton and Margaret River before finishing at Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, Augusta on Saturday 13 October.

One of the riders, Katelyn Lush, also the Executive Assistant of the CLCRF, has been diligently training to participate in the trek for several months. With less than four weeks before the trek, event organiser, Eric Maddock, took Katelyn on a 66km training session from Perth to Mandurah. Katelyn successfully completed the ride in under three hours. As a result of this trial run, Katelyn says she is much more confident about completing the nearly 600 km journey.

“I have never ridden this distance in one stretch before. Every week of training I’m learning more about the world of cycling and also about myself.

“We are capable of anything if we set our minds to it and this ride on the weekend has only increased my excitement for the Bike Trek.”

Katelyn is up for the challenge of riding the trek for the first time because she knows how increased funding into child cancer research can save lives.

“I think of all the kids who aren’t able to learn how to ride a bike or go outside and play because they are in the fight of their lives to beat Childhood Cancer. If my partaking in the South West Bike Trek can raise some greatly needed funds for Child Cancer Research and raise awareness, that’s a challenge I will take on.”

We are so proud of Katelyn for her perseverance and determination to be involved in the bike trek!

If you would like to make a donation to support the Southwest Bike Trek, head over to  our make a donation page.

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CLCRF Funds Research to Slow Down Leukaemia in Children

Dr Rishi Kotecha, one of the scientists at the Perth Children’s Hospital, is leading the way in research, funded by the Children’s Leukaemia & Cancer Research Foundation Inc. This research has unlocked a vital key to slow down the progression of leukaemia in children.

The journey for a child with cancer is not a straightforward one, and has many ups and downs. Dr Rishi Kotecha says it’s wonderful when he hears from patients many years later who are well again, graduating from university or starting families of their own.  At times his job has difficult moments such as discovering that the prognosis is not good for a young cancer patient. As a result, he is determined to discover new lifelines and better treatments that can lessen the suffering of children with leukaemia.

Working together with eight scientists, Dr Kotecha’s team of researchers at the Telethon Kids Institute, may have found a vital key that will slow down progression of leukaemia in children and has opened the door to a new way of thinking about treatment. These findings have been so significant that he and lead author, Dr Laurence Cheung, published them in the prestigious Nature journal, Leukaemia.

The researched looked at acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), which is the most common cancer among children, and a specific type called pre-B ALL.

More than a third of children with pre-B ALL have bone pain and skeletal defects at the time of diagnosis so the researchers wanted to know what was causing these symptoms.

“The bone pain at diagnosis can be quite severe,” adds Dr Kotecha, “not in all cases, but in a lot of cases there are aches, pain and fractures because their bones are brittle.”

The research team set to work by creating a highly aggressive subtype of pre-B ALL in their lab models.

They were able to identify a signal produced by the leukaemia cells which instructed cells in the micro-environment to eat away at the bone.

Desperate to find out how to stop those bone-eating cells wreaking further carnage, they tried using a commercially available drug called zoledronic acid.

The drug, which was already known to be safe for children, was a game changer.

Not only did it help reduce bone fragility, it slowed the advancement of the cancer.

Sadly, Australia was found to have one of the highest rates of leukaemia in the world. The survival rates have dramatically improved over the past 60 years but it is still one of the most common causes of cancer-related death in young people.

One of Dr Kotecha’s patients, Xander Thelan, is today the picture of health. So it is hard to believe that this 10-year-old Perth boy underwent three-and-a-half years of gruelling chemotherapy to treat leukaemia and benefited from taking part in clinical trials using a novel drug that came about from the research findings.

Xander was only five when he was diagnosed with leukaemia. Thanks to clinical trials coming from this key research, Xander finished chemotherapy last year and is now doing well.

The Telethon Kids Institute is working at a local, national and international level to try to further understand leukaemia and find and test new treatments such as this one.

“We just feel so lucky to live in Australia, in a country with such good health care and the research that they’re doing, because it is world class,” says Xander’s mother, Naomi Kerp.

“It was a wonderful feeling and it’s such a long road, three-and-a-half years of chemotherapy, that when you reach the end it’s just this beautiful feeling that it’s finally over.”

Dr Kotecha says that happy outcomes such as Xander’s continues to drive him.

The CLCRF is proud to fund international class research by scientists such as Dr Rishi Kotecha, Dr Laurence Cheung and their team that leads to better outcomes for children with cancer.

Photo taken by: Iain Gillespie