Other research involving NCCN members

International Collaborative Clinical Trials

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Current New Zealand Research

Dental Late Effects of Oncology Treatment of Children in New Zealand

Anti-neoplastic therapy for children suffering from malignancies can result in dental anomalies such as enamel defects, microdontia, root shortening and missing permanent teeth. This project aims to clinically and radiographically examine the oral health and presence of dental anomalies associated with oncology treatment and to determine the impact of such anomalies.


Attempts will be made to determine if specific neo-plastic agents, types of treatment and age of initial diagnosis allows oncologists and dentists to predict the likelihood of dental abnormalities in children who are undergoing cancer treatment.


A paper outlining results of the research has been published in the NZ Medical Journal (2020): Associations between childhood cancer treatment and tooth agenesis.


For further information contact:

Dr Erin Mahoney

Specialist Paediatric Dentist

Hutt Valley DHB


Developing a Model of Care for the Long-term Follow-up of Childhood Cancer Survivors

During survivorship, issues related to cancer treatment diminish in importance as other issues, such as the management of late effects, rehabilitation, health promotion and psychology support, increase. This Australasian qualitative study delineated the preferences, unmet needs and barriers experienced by this survivorship group, in order to develop a gold standard service specification for the growing number of survivors of childhood cancer. Papers have been published, and will continue to be published as a result.


For further information contact:

Erin Kavanagh

Late Effects Clinical Nurse Specialist, Starship Blood and Cancer Centre


Returning to Social Activities /Education after Cancer Diagnosis

There are currently no international guidelines regarding when children should return to social activities following a cancer diagnosis. NCCN and Child Cancer Foundation jointly funded a study on the advice given in New Zealand to families with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) about infection risks and the decisions they make about the timing of returning to social activities, including schooling.


Key activities include:


June 2018: Families of children diagnosed with ALL between 2014 and 2016, aged 2–13 at diagnosis were invited to participate in the study. Their participation involved granting the researchers access to their child’s medical and educational attendance records.

September – October 2018: A representative sample of caregivers (25 in total) was interviewed about their experiences navigating infection risks and returning to social activities. In addition, clinicians and family support workers were invited to complete an online questionnaire about the advice they give to families regarding returning to social activities and infection risks.

November 2018 – August 2019: Analysis of results completed including a report to key stakeholders, with plans to publish the results.

2020: A fixed term NCCN working group was formed to develop nationally agreed guidance for health professionals, plus associated resources for families. The aim is to improve consistency in the advice given regarding infection control and returning to school, reducing the pressure and responsibility resting with families during what is already a highly stressful time.


A summary of findings was disseminated to the families who so kindly and generously offered their time and insights.


2021: A research article “Listening to the experts: Parents’ perspectives around infection risk and returning to education and social activities following their child’s diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia” was published in Cancer Reports.


For further information contact the NCCN Programme Manager.

The Margaret Lewis Study

International research has shown that child cancer survivors are at greater risk of developing subsequent malignancies and of ‘late mortality’ in adulthood due to causes which may be linked to their childhood cancer and its treatment.


Dr Margaret Lewis was a Wellington-based paediatrician who was instrumental in establishing a national children’s cancer database in the 1980s – the predecessor of the New Zealand Children’s Cancer Registry (NZCCR).


The NZCCR Working Group is undertaking a comprehensive analysis of the Margaret Lewis dataset in order to determine the incidence and survival of children diagnosed with cancer in New Zealand between 1978 and 1999, including the incidence of second malignancies and cause-specific mortality.


For further information contact:

Gemma Pugh, NCCN Research Lead


Precision Paediatric Cancer Project (PPCP)

The Precision Paediatric Cancer Project (PPCP) was launched in 2018 and uses Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) to identify gene mutations in the cancers of eligible children and adolescents.


The project builds advanced clinical capacity in New Zealand to allow new targeted treatment options to be identified in children aged 0-18 years, where standard treatment options are ineffective. The clinical trial is at Starship Blood and Cancer Centre (Auckland), and the Children’s Haematology and Oncology Centre (Christchurch) but will be available to all eligible child cancer patients, no matter where they live in the country.


Cure Kids and Child Cancer Foundation initially committed $1.25 million funding to the PPCP. This was extended in 2020 by a further $750,000 from Child Cancer Foundation. You can learn more about the project in the Cure Kids interview (podcast) with Dr Andy Wood here.

Research Publications

Journal Publications
Conference Posters & Presentations

Summer Studentship Projects

Each year the University of Otago, Christchurch School of Medicine and the University of Auckland host Summer Studentship Programmes. Staff at the Children’s Haematology Oncology Centre and the Starship Blood and Cancer Centre have the opportunity to supervise projects to further our understanding of childhood cancer. These projects also benefit the participating students, introducing them to the excitement and challenge of research in a field which they are interested in.



Research Funding Opportunities

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