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Monday, 8 September 2003

New Study Offers Hope for Increased Survival from Childhood Leukaemia

The Hon Frank Sartor, Minster for Science and Medical Research will officially launch a new childhood leukaemia clinical trial at a press conference to be held at:

10:00am - Monday 8th September, 2003
Children's Cancer Institute Australia
Level One, Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick

PLEASE COME TO SYDNEY CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL'S HIGH STREET RECEPTION AREA, AND STAFF WILL BE ON HAND TO TAKE MEDIA TO THE PRESS CONFERENCE ROOM.

Available for interview at the press conference will be:
- The Hon Frank Sartor, Minister for Science and Medical Research
- A/Prof Murray Norris, Head, Molecular Diagnostics Program and Deputy Director, Children's Cancer Institute Australia (CCIA)
- A/Prof Glenn Marshall, Director, Centre for Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders, Sydney Children's Hospital (SCH)
- Dr Luce Dalla Pozza, Oncology Unit, Children's Hospital at Westmead (CHW)
- Childhood leukaemia patients from SCH and CHW and their parents will also be available for interview.

Cancer is still the most common disease causing death in children, with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) being the most common type of childhood cancer. While the majority of children with ALL will survive their disease, 20% who initially respond to therapy will later relapse. This childhood leukaemia trial will use clinical features at diagnosis and the results of a new genetic test developed by CCIA to help identify the 20% of children who have the highest risk of relapse. Significantly, these high-risk ALL children will then be given stronger chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant early in their treatment plan, while still in remission, in an effort to prevent later relapse. The trial is an international first and is being conducted in collaboration with doctors in Germany.

The trial commenced in late 2002 and approximately 70 newly diagnosed ALL patients have been enrolled in the study to date. The trial began at the two leading paediatric oncology facilities in NSW - The Children's Hospital at Westmead and Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick. It has since been extended to the John Hunter Hospital Newcastle, and interstate to the Women's and Children's Hospital in Adelaide and the Mater Hospital in Brisbane.

For Further Information Contact:

Rachel Stewart, Public Affairs Manager Tel: 9382 3571 - Mob: 0411 730 842



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