Paediatric Cancer Research Program

The Paediatric Cancer Research Program is a collaborative Melbourne-based initiative

bringing together researchers and clinicians across Hudson Institute of Medical Research, Monash Children’s Hospital, Monash Children’s Cancer Centre and Monash University
Together, our common objective is to improve outcomes in children diagnosed with cancer through innovative research into the development and progression of these diseases and identification of new and more effective therapeutic strategies.

In 2015 in Victoria alone, 156 children under the age of 14 years old and 246 adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15-24 years old were diagnosed with cancer*. Despite a >80% survival rate, many patients will suffer permanent side effects of their disease and/or treatments. The predicted increase in new cancer diagnoses (53%) and deaths (25%) in Victoria over the next 10-15 years* highlights the urgent need for researchers and clinicians to join forces to improve understanding of paediatric cancers and translate these findings into the clinic.

*Cancer Council Victoria

The Paediatric Cancer Research Program aims to significantly contribute to the understanding of all childhood cancer. The expanding profile of research interests currently include

‒ Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumour (AT/RT)
‒ Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG)
‒ Ependymoma
‒ Leukaemia
‒ Malignant Rhabdoid Tumour (MRT)
‒ Medulloblastoma
‒ Neuroblastoma
‒ Sarcoma’s (including Osteosarcoma)
‒ Wilm’s tumour
‒ Paediatric Cancer Precision Medicine
‒ Paediatric Cancer Tissue Banking and Model Development
‒ Molecular Profiling of Brain and CNS Malignancies

For more information on our research, please click on the member links below.


A/Prof Elizabeth Algar (Research Group Head, Genetics and Molecular Pathology; Chief Investigator, Paediatric Precision Medicine program)
Dr Jason Cain (Research Group Head, Developmental and Cancer Biology; Chief Investigator, Paediatric Precision Medicine program)
Hui Kheng Chua (Children’s Cancer Foundation Organoid Specialist, Paediatric Precision Medicine program)
Catherine Cochrane (PhD student)
Dr Peter Downie (Head, Monash Children’s Cancer Centre; Head of Clinical Enterprise and Chief Investigator, Paediatric Precision Medicine program)
Caroline Drinkwater (Children’s Cancer Foundation Biobank Specialist, Paediatric Precision Medicine program)
A/Prof Ron Firestein (Centre Head, Centre for Cancer Research; Research Group Head, Cancer Genetics and Functional Genomics; Head of Research and Chief Investigator, Paediatric Precision Medicine program)
Dr Daniel Gough (Research Group Head, STAT Signalling Laboratory; Principal Investigator, Paediatric Precision Medicine Program)
Dr Samantha Jayasekara (Research Assistant)
Dr Sara Khan (Australian Lions Childhood Cancer Research Foundation Fellow)
Dr Beena Kumar (Principal investigator Monash Surgical Oncology Biobank/ Monash Children’s Cancer Biobank)
Naama Neeman (Children’s Cancer Foundation Administrative Director, Paediatric Precision Medicine program)
Zdenka Prodanovic (Principal Advisor, Monash Children’s Cancer Biobank)
Dr Vijesh Vaghjiani (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Developmental and Cancer Biology)
Dr Christine White (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Genetics and Molecular Pathology)
Prof Bryan Williams (Emeritus Director and Distinguished Scientist, Hudson Institute; Research Group Head, Cancer and Innate Immunity; Program Director, Paediatric Precision Medicine program)
Dr Paul Wood (Group Leader, Paediatric Oncologist; Associate Investigator, Paediatric Precision Medicine program)

Affiliations & Partners

Centre for Cancer Research, Hudson Institute of Medical Research
Monash Children’s Hospital
Monash Children’s Cancer Centre, Monash Health
Genetics and Molecular Pathology, Monash Health
Monash Children’s Cancer Biobank, Monash Health
Monash University

Funding Sources

National Health & Medical Research Council
Monash Comprehensive Cancer Consortium
Australian Lions Childhood Cancer Research Foundation
Australasian Sarcoma Study Group
Bailey’s Day
Children’s Cancer Foundation
The Robert Connor Dawes Foundation (RCD Foundation)
The Cure Starts Now: Australia
Isabella and Marcus Paediatric Brainstem Tumour Fund

In the news

Herald Sun: ‘A fight for the kids,’ 4 October 2014
Herald Sun: ‘Cancer battle can’t conquer little Zac,’ 18 October 2014
ALCCRF Newsletter: ‘ALCCRF Fellowship,’ August 2015
Herald Sun: ‘Children with common brain tumour to have routine analysis under national service,’ 27 September 2016
Ten Eyewitness NEWS: ‘Cancer Fight,’ 27 September 2016
7 NEWS: 27 September 2016
Hudson News (summer edition): ‘Australian first – crucial service to help children with brain tumours,’ 3 November 2016
ALCCRF Newsletter: ‘Appointment of ALCCRF Clinical Research Fellow at Monash
Children’s Hospital and Hudson Institute of Medical Research,’ June 2016