Alfie Chivers CRISPR Project

Hudson Institute of Medical Research is set to receive $226,000 over two years to fund its CRISPR research project, known as the Alfie Project.

The project is named in honour of Sara Chivers and her 18-month-old son Alfie, who both passed away from brain cancer in 2018. In 2017, Sara had a recurrence of an aggressive brain tumour, first diagnosed in 2008. Not long afterwards, the family received the heartbreaking news that Alfie also had an aggressive, unrelated and rare form of brain cancer.

Chivers family: Leigh, Sarah, Hugh and Alfie
Chivers family: Leigh, Sarah, Hugh and Alfie


Discovered by scientists in the US and Europe in 2012, CRISPR technology is a tool for editing the genome (an organism’s complete set of DNA, like an instruction manual for all of our genes). It enables scientists to easily alter DNA sequences to uncover the role of specific genes in diseases – such as identifying mutations driving resistance to cancer treatment in patients.

“Having witnessed first-hand how cruel the current state of brain cancer is, taking the life of my wife and son over the course of 18 months, this research makes complete sense to me compared to the limitations of the current best available treatments,” said Leigh Chivers.

Liz Dawes, CEO and Founder of the RCD Foundation, lost her son Robert Connor to brain cancer in June 2013 and has since been raising funds and awareness to find a cure for this terrible disease. “We are honoured to provide this funding in partnership with Alfie’s family.  It’s collectively working together on important projects that will help progress be made.”

The Alfie Chivers CRISPR Project at Hudson Institute of Medical Research is being led by Dr. Gabrielle Bradshaw.

Dr Gabrielle Bradshaw