An Australian first: Newly accredited diagnostic test to transform diagnosis of children with brain cancer.

Pat yourself on the back, high-five someone, jump for joy, because your awesome support has helped make a huge difference for young people with brain cancer!
From December 2022, molecular profiling developed through the AIM BRAIN Project (Access to Innovative Molecular diagnostic profiling for paediatric brain tumours) will become an accredited diagnostic test for brain cancers in Australia and New Zealand.

The AIM BRAIN Project team, based at the Australian & New Zealand Childrens Haematology/Oncology Group (ANZCHOG) and Victorian Clinical Genetic Services (VCGS), have now been granted NATA accreditation for a leading edge, diagnostic tool for patients diagnosed with brain cancer.

The AIM BRAIN Project is the brainchild of the Robert Connor Dawes Foundation- an initiative we began with ANZCHOG in 2017 as a research study and now is fully translated into the clinical environment. Leading the charge, we managed to leverage additional funding for this project with the Australian Federal Government and Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer, to undertake the research and then move it in to the clinic. Proving successful, our Foundation is adopting the same approach to our next big research initiatives to make your dollar go further with maximum impact.

What does this all mean?

  • Every child in Australian and New Zealand with a brain tumour can access the accredited diagnostic test
  • It enables doctors to make more accurate diagnoses and tailor treatments for higher chances of success
  • Approximately 20% of children enrolled in the AIM study had their treatment changed due to the data from this test
  • The achievement of NATA accreditation is a is a huge milestone, placing Australia alongside the United States, Canada and United Kingdom as one of the few countries world-wide to offer clinically validated methylation profiling.

“We are extremely proud to have helped ANZCHOG in 2017 identify the need for methylation testing for every child diagnosed with brain cancer in Australia. We are also pleased that that the Federal Government and Carries Beanies 4 Brain Cancer when approached, became valued co-funding partners. It has been rewarding to see the value of AIM Brain and know it has been made possible by our loyal, committed supporters” says Liz Dawes, Robert Connor Dawes Foundation Founder & CEO (OAM).

More about the AIM BRAIN Project:

The project ensures that every child in Australia and New Zealand can access the most accurate diagnostic information about their brain tumour to inform their treatment pathways and optimise their chance of survival.

The test examines patterns of certain modifications to the tumour’s DNA (called DNA methylation profiling). We partnered with the Federal Government and Carries Beanies 4 Brain Cancer to validate it in a clinical study involving sites across Australia and New Zealand. Results were benchmarked against gold standard testing in Germany and achieved 99% concordance. Furthermore, for those enrolled in the study, around 20% of children’s treatment plans changed as a direct result of this test information.

We subsequently co-funded the transition of test from the research sector into the clinic at VCGS with the Brian Centre at WEHI.