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My favourite bird is rainbow lorikeets and budgies and king parrots.
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When Thomas was first diagnosed with leukaemia, we were in complete shock. The day we came
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in, we weren’t at all expecting our son to be diagnosed with cancer. I think for the
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first three months we walked around in shock, not knowing what to do. When we met a lot
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of the other families who were treated with the same type of cancer that Thomas has, ALL,
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it was quite evident that a lot of the children reacted differently. The treatment may have
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been the same, but the outcome of the treatments for the kids was quite different, and that
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was quite confronting, particularly with one family that we met where it was the same diagnosis
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as Thomas and he didn’t make it. So that’s where we think the research is so important.
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The most common form of childhood cancer is acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. We see about
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40-50 patients a year in our hospital, and it represents about 25-30 per cent of all
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patients. It’s been well known in that disease that two patients can present in the hospital,
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and they’re treated with exactly the same treatment course of drugs, but one will survive
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and one won’t. We want to understand what are those hidden molecular switches, pathways
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that may be causing that patient not to respond well to the current therapies. The research
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that we’re doing with big data, data mining, visualisation, in conjunction with UTS will
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eventually be the diagnostic tools of tomorrow.
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My research is all about using data science to better treat kids that have cancer. My
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area is to help them to make sense of that data, to transform it from this very high
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dimensional 80,000 pieces of information down to smaller information where they can see
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the relationships between the different patients so that we can predict whether a patient will
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relapse or not, and to help the clinicians to make better decisions.
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We can’t hold him back at the moment. The things that he loves to do, he loves to play
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cricket, we go swimming, we just want him to be a kid and enjoying all the things we
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love to do.
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Our research has attracted international interest, but funding is difficult in this area because
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it’s a rare cancer. To progress the research, we need outstanding people to actually do
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the research, and this is where you come in. Please share this video with your friends
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and sponsor our research.