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