Children's Cancer Research Group
Located in the Christchurch School of Medicine, University of Otago, the Children’s Cancer Research Group is working on a variety of projects, from the basic biology of cancer in children, to the complex long-term effects of its treatment.
Established in 2003 and directed by Dr Michael Sullivan, the research group has a team of experienced scientists and students, with dedicated research facilities in a purpose-built laboratory. Dr Tracy Hale, the group’s senior scientist, joined the CCRG in late 2004, having spent several years working in the USA.
We are interested in the biology and genetics of childhood solid tumours and we work closely with the Developmental Genetics Research Group in the Department of Surgery, who are investigating the developmental mechanisms leading to congenital abnormalities.
Our current projects involve investigating the molecular genetics of neuroblastoma and hepatoblastoma, common solid tumours in children, using microarray gene expression technology, tissue arrays and protein analysis. Specific projects are investigating the role of histone methylation and DNA methylation in both neuroblastoma and hepatoblastoma, and the role of the sonic hedgehog developmental pathway in paediatric solid tumours.
Our group is currently leading several biological studies for the International Paediatric Oncology Society Liver Tumour group (SIOPEL) aimed to identify and validate biological markers for the diagnosis and treatment of these tumours.
Our clinical service is a full member of the US based Children's Oncology Group, the largest international collaborative children's cancer research group. We are also full members of SIOP and the Australian and New Zealand Children’s Haematology Oncology Group.