Brain Cancer Biobanking Australia (BCBA) is a virtual biobank hub established to provide researchers easy access to the amount, quality and type of tissue and associated data they need to accelerate both paediatric and adult translational brain cancer research.
BCBA Steering Committee member, Professor Hui Gan has created and led one of the few Australian trials for patients with relapsed low and intermediate grade brain tumours. The LUMOS trial fills the void for people with these universally fatal gliomas who would otherwise have almost no access to clinical trials. But amazingly, Professor Gan doesn’t rate this achievement as his biggest contribution;
“I actually think that my biggest contribution to date has been being part of, and helping to extend, the number of people actually focused on improving outcomes for brain tumour patients and helping create collaborations between people and groups,” he said.
It’s this passion for collaboration that led him to join BCBA, bringing with him the drive to improve patient outcomes through clinical trials and translational research,
“It’s the feeling of being part of a group that is always selflessly looking out for what the neuro-oncology community needs and then pursuing that fearlessly”.
BCBA consortium member, Associate Professor David Ziegler has big plans for 2021. The paediatric oncologist at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, is expanding the Zero Childhood Cancer program, with the aim to offer complete tumour sequencing for every childhood brain cancer patient in the country. The program has so far identified the genetic basis of a child’s cancer in more than 90 per cent of cases, giving 70 per cent of participants at least one new potential treatment option.
Ziegler has been spearheading the program since it began with a local pilot in 2016. His interest in paediatric oncology was sparked early in his career, and he continues to be motivated by seeing his patients respond to a new treatment his team has developed.
David was drawn to commitment of the BCBA to inspire the best research and build productive networks,
“What I love about BCBA is that no problem is too large and nothing is impossible – obstacles are viewed as challenges that must be overcome and the focus is always on the endgame and the patients who need the investment of research and discovery”.