I have dedicated 34 years of my life to studying infant cancer at the Children’s Leukaemia & Cancer Research Laboratory and this is my Legacy!
With a grateful heart, I say thank you to the Foundation and its supporters for bringing me from Switzerland to Perth and giving me the chance to lead the Laboratory. It is with some sadness, that I announce that I have come to the end of my time as the founding scientist of the Children’s Leukaemia & Cancer Research Foundation (Inc.) (CLCRF) Laboratory.
During these 34 years, I have been struck by one word to describe the effects of infant cancer: AGGRESSIVE. Cancer in children is not the same as adult cancer. An adult cancer patient may experience five to 30 years of life lost due to cancer and its treatments. A child diagnosed with cancer may lose 67 years of life through cancer and its treatments. By giving $50 you can lessen the loss of life a child with cancer faces.
Sadly, one in 500 Australian children will develop cancer before age 15. Childhood cancer is still the leading cause of death from disease for Australian children.
I have seen the devastating effects of treating children with drugs that are also used to fight cancer in adults. Children just do not respond to these treatments as well as adults do. My desire to help children survive through this terrible disease has driven my team and I these 34 years, to find answers to fight childhood cancer in the laboratory.
Over a three-year treatment period, children with cancer are likely to be treated with up to 12 different drugs that cause terrible effects to their fragile, growing bodies. Long-term effects of the treatment can be heart damage, second cancers, lung damage, infertility, cognitive issues, hearing losses and much more. Two-thirds of those who survive must face at least one chronic health condition for the rest of their lives.
So, our key goal in the CLCRF Laboratory is to find therapies that have none of these long-term effects for children with cancer.
It’s a matter of life and death.
By giving to CLCRF you can help to improve the survival rate of children with cancer and better their response to treatment.
Our Laboratory team has contributed to a world-wide effort to find better therapies for our young cancer patients – with great outcomes. In the mid-eighties, many patients did not survive. Today successful therapies are available for the majority of our young cancer patients. However some patients initially respond to the therapy they are given, but soon the disease is back. Which is devastating for the patient, their families and all involved.
In 1997, my team of scientists in the CLCRF Laboratory discovered that a gene – the P16 tumour suppressor gene, plays a large role in a children’s leukaemia. Leukaemia is cancer of the blood and the most common cancer in children. Our findings led to more research into better treatment methods not used in children before.
In a world-wide research effort we helped to develop treatment protocols for leukaemia patients. They are very successful – today more than 85% of patients survive. Sadly this is not the case for babies who are diagnosed with leukaemia. Less then 40% survive. Our laboratory team has focused on these very young patients to find out why they don’t respond to the drugs as well as older children do.
I am proud to say that our CLCRF Laboratory has attracted worldwide attention with our research into infant cancer. In Perth, our Laboratory boasts cell lines for testing that have been used across the world so that we can develop the best drug combinations to treat childhood cancer.
The CLCRF Laboratory is not government funded. Only one per cent of government funding is given to children’s cancer research. That is why your help is vital in the search for better treatment for children with cancer. We rely on you to continue the dream of improving the lives of children with cancer. You can do this by investing in the legacy of research that we started.
There are still many drug combinations that our laboratory aims to test to better the lives of children with cancer. This testing is vital so that we can see more children survive, but we cannot do this without your help. Your donation goes towards increasing their chances of survival and enhancing their lives.
In order for the Laboratory to continue with this life-changing research, we need your help. So please dig deep and give generously to the CLCRF. To demonstrate my belief in this key research that the CLCRF Laboratory is leading, I will continue to be a high functioning board member of the CLCRF.
You’ve been so generous in the past, we are very thankful. The wonderful team of researchers that I have lead for 34 years is working around the clock to find the answers to make children’s lives better. Time is running out, so make a donation now to the Children’s Leukaemia & Cancer Research Foundation to help these little ones who suffer so greatly.
Professor Ursula Kees
P.S. Time is running out for these children. Your gift, now, will mean that more children are saved from cancer and they live better lives. We cannot do this without you.
If you have recently donated, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.