VCA Fellowship targets ‘rare and aggressive’ childhood cancer

Dr Jason Cain has been awarded a Victorian Cancer Agency (VCA) Mid-Career Fellowship for his research to help tackle a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer.

Dr Jason Cain

Dr Cain was one of 14 successful VCA funding recipients announced by Acting Minister for Health, Martin Foley as part of a $7 million investment by the Victorian Government.

Head of the Developmental and Cancer Biology in Hudson Institute’s Centre for Cancer Research, Dr Cain’s research is focused on childhood cancers.

The VCA fellowship will support Dr Cain to find new treatments for malignant rhabdoid tumours (MRT), rare and highly aggressive paediatric tumours which are among the most resistant to current standard therapies.

“These tumours primarily affect the kidney and brain of infants and young children under the age of three. Currently, the prognosis for this disease is very poor,” Dr Cain says.

Dr Cain discovered that a drug called Panobinostat could have potential in targeting MRT, and now based on these findings, is set to commence a clinical trial of the drug in paediatric cancer patients, including those with MRT.

He is now working to identify other drugs that could be combined with Panobinostat to increase its effectiveness in targeting MRT.

“My ultimate aim is to find drugs that will work in synergy with Panobinostat to create stronger anti-tumour responses and longer lasting outcomes in these young patients,” Dr Cain said.

Acting Minister for Health, Martin Foley, said “Investing in world-leading cancer research and clinical trials is the first step in the quest to one day find a cure – and we’re lucky to have so many dedicated and talented researchers working to save lives.”

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