New cancer centre to provide world's best care

Rory was just two and half years old when his parents were told the unthinkable - he had a very rare aggressive thyroid cancer that had already metastasised to his neck and chest.  

Every week in Australia, 20 children like Rory are diagnosed with cancer and too often, they are told there is no further treatment. This is something soon hoped to change.

In a major announcement, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP has confirmed a $15 million philanthropic donation from the Minderoo Foundation for Australia’s first Children’s Comprehensive Care Centre.

The Centre will be a fully integrated cancer centre, combining world-leading clinical care, with ground-breaking research and education, to change the face of paediatric cancer and ultimately, put an end to childhood cancer.

Expected to open in 2025, the Centre will be a partnership between the Kids Cancer Centre (KCC) at Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick, Children’s Cancer Institute (CCI) and University of New South Wales to help provide seamless and integrated care for children and families right around the country.

Rory’s family know firsthand the impact this will have, with research being integral in finding the right treatment for their little boy.

In Rory’s case, identifying a targeted therapy for his specific cancer was only possible thanks to an analysis of his cancer and blood. Performed through the Zero Childhood Cancer program (ZERO), a collaboration between KCC and CCI, this analysis confirmed Rory had a RET mutation and a rare inherited cancer predisposition syndrome and helped guide his treatment.

Fast forward to today, Rory is responding well to treatment and has been able to continue his oral therapy closer to home in Port Macquarie.

Professor Tracey O’Brien, Director of Kids Cancer Centre said this was the goal for all children.

“Care for kids like Rory with rare cancers requires pushing the boundaries of science, safe use of cutting-edge therapies in hospital and strong collaboration across differing specialities with hospitals and local communities,” Professor O'Brien said.

“The ability to deliver integrated, specialist cancer treatment, education and research to transform the lives of children with cancer in a purpose-built centre will help us achieve the best possible outcomes for patients and their families.”

In recognition of the significant contribution from the Minderoo Foundation and the philanthropic leadership of Chairman Dr Andrew Forrest AO and Co-Chair Nicola Forrest AO, the new centre will be known as the Minderoo Children’s Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

“Our ultimate goal must be to make childhood cancer non-fatal. Nicola and I see the Minderoo Children’s Comprehensive Cancer Centre as a major step toward achieving that goal,” Dr Forrest said.

“There is power in philanthropy, the scientific community and government coming together to avoid the incalculable tragedy of losing the life of a child.”

“We are proud to be leading the way in helping to realise this extraordinary vision, and invite our fellow passionate Australians to help ensure this world-leading Centre, reaches its full potential, saving the lives of children with cancer,” Mrs Forrest added.

Professor Michelle Haber AM, Executive Director, Children’s Cancer Institute says she is excited about what the Centre will be able to achieve in the future.

“Building on decades of success between Children’s Cancer Institute and Kid’s Cancer Centre, this Centre will be globally leading with positive impact for children with cancer in Australia and internationally,” she said.

So far, the redevelopment of Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick and the Children’s Comprehensive Cancer Centre has received $658 million in investment, including:

  • $478 million from the NSW Government;
  • $100 million from the Commonwealth Government;
  • $25 million from Sydney Children's Hospitals Foundation;
  • $25 million from Children's Cancer Institute
  • The University of NSW is providing a $30 million in-kind contribution for the Centre within the adjacent UNSW Health Translation Hub

Nicola Stokes, CEO of Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation said the collaboration between government and philanthropic leaders will transform healthcare.

“It is only through this type of investment that we will see more breakthroughs and milestones, turning points and world firsts,” Ms Stokes said.

"Childhood is brief, the window of opportunity is short, but together we can ensure all children with cancer have the opportunity to follow their passions, achieve their ambitions and reach their greatest potential.”   

A further $30 million is required from philanthropic donations to complete the project and enable even greater investment in technology, research and services to offer the best possible care for sick children.

Read more about the Minderoo Comprehensive Cancer Canter and the Sydney Children's Hospital, Stage 1 redevelopment