Three world-first clinical trials to tackle one of the most common and aggressive childhood cancers have been backed by $6 million in federal government funding.

UNSW Conjoint Professors Michelle Haber, Glenn Marshall and Murray Norris from Children's Cancer Institute Australia (CCIA) were awarded an NHMRC Program Grant worth $6 million over five years to fund further research into neuroblastoma, the most common solid tumour in children and one of the most aggressive forms of childhood cancer.

The Program Grant is one of only nine awarded throughout the country for outstanding medical research and one of two awarded in NSW.

Professor Haber, CCIA Executive Director and President of the international Advances in Neuroblastoma Research Association, said the grant focuses on translational research - essentially doctors and scientists working side-by-side.

Children with relapsed neuroblastoma will be a special focus of the Grant.

"CCIA has taken a leading role in placing Australia at the forefront of international childhood cancer research. Our bench-to-bedside translational approach to research has seen a dramatic increase in the number of clinical trials planned or under way, and will make a difference to helping save the lives of all children with cancer," Professor Haber said.

CCIA is based at UNSW's Lowy Cancer Research Centre.

Professor Marshall, who is also Director of the Cancer Centre at Sydney Children's Hospital and who has been researching and treating childhood cancer for more than 25 years, said: "The survival rate for children with neuroblastoma is one of the lowest of all childhood cancer, with only about 50 per cent of children surviving on current treatments. New treatments are desperately needed."

Read the full story on the UNSW medicine website.

For further information about the Program Grants, please go to the NHMRC website

Media contact: Daniella Goldberg, CCIA Communications Manager | 02 9385 8475.