A group of Christchurch mothers have formed a charity dedicated to raising funds for cutting-edge Otago University research into the genetics behind cancer.
Each week, three New Zealand families receive the news that their child has cancer, and REACH - Research, Education and Awareness of Child Cancer and Hematology - is looking to cut down on the number of tragedies endured.
There is only one laboratory doing child cancer research in New Zealand, which is led by Professor Parry Guilford.
"To find some new money to do child cancer research is really wonderful for us," he said.
Professor Guilford is hoping to spend the funds raised to extend his current adult cancer research to include child cancer.
"The idea is to develop a simple blood test which would be tailored to each individual patient," he said.
"It would be looking for tumour DNA which has spilled into the bloodstream, and we can use that to monitor the patient's progress and response to drug treatment."
REACH out to help fund ctDNA
Donations and how they will help
Donations will fund the ongoing development of the Circulating Tumor DNA project which will improve outcomes for those children already diagnosed with cancer. Based upon a normal blood sample, ctDNA can give a window into the progress of the tumor treatment. If a tumor is not responding to a treatment, ctDNA will show this faster than current techniques.
Donations will cover the costs for each child's sample to be researched. ctDNA sampling requires only a simple blood test and can be conducted as often as required. This provides the opportunity for more intensive surveillance and faster clinical response times, at lower cost.