World-leading cancer research that is changing local children’s lives

23 August 2021

CAR T-Cell Therapy offering hope to sick kids

Every year, over 750 Australian families receive the devastating news that their child has cancer and one-third of these families live in NSW. In 2020 alone, 619 children were diagnosed with a form of childhood cancer across Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network. On any given day there are 115 kids across the Network receiving therapy, review, and acute care for childhood cancer.  

These statistics shine a light as to why it’s more important than ever for us to find preventions, treatments and even cures.  

Just like 11-year-old Kamm’s family, who were preparing to enter palliative care when doctors offered his family their last source of hope. Young Kamm was diagnosed with Philadelphia Positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. After having chemotherapy and receiving a bone marrow transplant donated by his sister, Kamm’s cancer returned. 

Thanks to the success of earlier clinical trials, oncologists at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick delivered the first CAR T-cell infusion in NSW. Clinicians removed Kamm’s own immune cells and sent them to the laboratory where scientists genetically reprogrammed his T-cells to fight off the cancer. 

Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead are two of only a handful of centres in Australia offering CAR T-Cell therapy to sick kids.  

Thanks to cutting-edge technology, ground-breaking research, and the expert practitioners at both the Kids Cancer Centre and The Cancer Centre for Children, doctors are providing new hope to families fighting childhood cancer.

How our donors are helping 

This year, a new state-of-the-art piece of equipment will be installed at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. Funded by Sargent Pies Charitable Foundation, the Spect-CT Gamma Camera will service up to 15 patients a day – that’s close to 5,000 patients per year who won’t be exposed to as much radiation. 

Clinicians believe this type of state-of-the-art imaging will help them diagnose patients sooner and more accurately. Earlier intervention for kids with cancer gives oncologists a better chance to treat the disease, before it may spread to other parts of their body. 

With help from generous supporters, like Sargents Pies Charitable Foundation, we can continue to increase the number of children who celebrate the end of their treatment by ringing the ‘Celebration Bell’.

Sydney Children's Hospitals Foundation raises funds for Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick , The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Bear Cottage, the Newborn and Paediatric Emergency Transport Service (NETS NSW) and Kids Research