Funding boost for vital research projects

Researchers across Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network are investigators in over $23 million worth of recently-announced National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants. This includes 11 project grants, two career fellowships and three Centre of Research Excellence Awards.  

These grants have boosted research linked to a range of medical conditions, including neurological and neuromuscular disorders, renal disease, metabolic liver diseases, heart disease, cerebral palsy, infections and traumatic injuries. 

The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick are in the unique position of having research conducted under the same roof as clinical care, allowing researchers to link straight into the hospital environment and conduct clinical trials to maximise their research efforts.

This translational approach is providing a strong foundation for researchers to make significant discoveries across six key research areas - cancer, genomics rare disorders, chronic disease, infectious diseases, clinical sciences and population health and indigenous research. 

One example of the innovative research projects being funded is a study into the psycho-social risks to families of infants with heart disease at the Heart Centre for Children at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. This project has been awarded a $933,000 grant over five years and the findings are expected to impact on care for all children with serious illnesses and their families, not just those with cardiac conditions.

Another project to receive significant funding is looking at using targeted inhibition of the FACT (Facilitates Chromatin Transcription) Complex as a novel therapeutic approach in aggressive childhood cancers. 

Led by researchers at the Children’s Cancer Institute and the Kids Cancer Centre at the Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, the trial is hoping to change treatment options and outcomes for children with cancer – 625 children are diagnosed with all forms of this disease in Australia each year.

These are just some examples of the research projects being advanced in partnership with the NHMRC. They will undoubtedly improve our understanding of childhood diseases and enable the development of innovative treatments with better outcomes for children and their families.