The most common form of blood cancer in children, acute myeloid leukaemia, is a devastating disease that can develop from birth to 14 years old. Each year in Australia, 50 new cases of the disease are reported in young children.
While it is known that genetic changes at the DNA level cause this type of leukaemia, we still don’t know what prompts the DNA to change in young children.
Flinders University early career researcher Dr Vanessa Conn is working hard to solve the puzzle of this alarming blood cancer and stop it in its tracks.
‘As a molecular biologist, my research is driven by the unanswered question of why these genetic rearrangements occur that then cause a child to develop Leukaemia,’ says Dr Conn.
‘If we can understand how it starts, hopefully we can stop it in its tracks.’
Dr Conn received a donor-supported grant from our Impact Seed Funding program to pursue her research into identifying what triggers the DNA to change.
‘Receiving Impact Seed Funding has allowed me to undertake a new technique to accurately count genetic molecules in neonatal blood samples, which have previously been very difficult to test,’ says Dr Conn.
‘I hope this research will lead to the earliest detection of at-risk children and develop new treatment options so that no family has to suffer from the devastating impact of leukaemia.’
Flinders Impact Seed Funding for Early Career Researchers funds critical work like Dr Conn’s cancer research. This year eight early career researchers (PhD graduates up to eight years post graduation) will each receive up to $10,000 to support brave new research that has the potential to create positive change throughout our community.
However, we need your support to continue to create opportunities for Flinders early career researchers to carve their unique research pathways, build international collaborations, and make new discoveries that can change lives.
100% of your tax-deductible donation will fund the important work of Flinders University’s early career researchers who are passionate about making a difference in our community.