Childhood cancers

Ian Frazer Centre will ensure children with cancer benefit from immunotherapy

Australia’s first dedicated children’s immunotherapy centre aims to improve management and outcomes for children with solid and haematological cancers.

The Ian Frazer Centre for Children’s Immunotherapy Research is being led by the University of Queensland (UQ) in collaboration with the Children’s Hospital Foundation, Children’s Health Queensland and QIMR Berghofer.

The Centre is named in honour of Professor Ian Frazer, co-inventor of the Gardasil vaccine against human papillomavirus which helps protect women from cervical cancer.

“To date, children have not benefitted from advances in cancer immunotherapy to the same extent as adults,” Professor Frazer said.

“This centre will conduct desperately needed research to invent new immunotherapies, enhance current treatments’ efficacy and reduce unwanted long-term consequences of childhood cancer treatment.

“It will ensure current clinical research is translated into a new era of children’s cancer treatments.”

Inaugural projects include developing:

  • a novel off-the-shelf cellular immunotherapy for children with CD19+ blood cancers, led by Professor Maher Gandhi
  • preclinical tools to better predict outcomes for immunotherapy, led by Associate Professor Kristen Radford
  • CAR-engineered natural killer cells directed against medulloblastoma and osteosarcoma, led by Dr Fernando Guimaraes.

Professor Di Yu has been appointed inaugural director of the Ian Frazer Centre for Children’s Immunotherapy Research.

He is a Professor of Immunology at the UQ Diamantina Institute in Brisbane and the inaugural Chair of Paediatric Immunotherapy within the University’s Child Health Research Centre.

The Ian Frazer Centre for Children’s Immunotherapy Research has been established with an initial $7.5 million from the Children’s Hospital Foundation for its first five years and will also benefit from Gardasil vaccine royalties.

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