What are your research interests?
- Improving the cure of cancer in children
- Decreasing the side effects of cancer therapy in children
Why did you get into research?
Working in the field of childhood cancer for nearly 20 years, I have seen many success stories but I have also unfortunately seen children and adolescents not survive their battle with cancer. I, with many others, am working to improve therapies to increase the survival even further.
What would be the ultimate goal for your research?
To cure all children and adolescents diagnosed with cancer and for them to have no long-lasting toxicities of the therapy that achieved the cure.
Dr Alvaro has worked in the field of childhood cancer for many years. He strongly believes that improvements in survival of childhood cancer over many years have been a direct result of clinical research and collaboration with other researchers, not only in Australia but from around the world. New improvements in treatment need to be translated to the clinical areas as fast as possible and this is only possible by international collaboration. Many patients within the area have benefited from this rapid translation to the clinic.
Ongoing studies in leukaemia, brain tumours and sarcomas continue to improve treatments, not only the survival but a reduction in the toxicities of the therapies required to cure children with cancer.
A large focus of Dr Alvaro's research is to reduce the length of time that patients need to remain in hospital both for their therapy and also due to infections that unfortunately are very common in the treatment.
Dr Alvaro has published a number of papers in peer reviewed publications in many aspects of treatment of childhood cancer, is a member of the Australian and New Zealand Children's Haematology Oncology Group (ANZCHOG), Australian Children's Cancer Trials (ACCT) and the Children's oncology Group (COG).
- John Hunter Children's Hospital
- Children's Oncology Group
Cancer is the most common cause of childhood disease-related deaths, with leukaemia the most common childhood cancer in Australia. The two most common forms of leukaemia in children are acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Whilst remission is achievable in over 95% of ALL cases, 1/3 of patients will relapse within 5 to 10 years, and these children will not be long-term survivors. AML accounts for 20% of all childhood leukaemias, and the outlook for children diagnosed with AML is much worse, with only approximately half of children surviving for 5 years post-diagnosis.
Professor Rodney Scott, Dr Frank Alvaro, Tiffany-Jane Evans, Elizabeth Milne, Bruce Armstrong, Professor John Attia, Elizabeth Holliday
Brain tumours are the second most frequent cancer diagnosed in children yet very little is known about the risk factors associated with their occurrence or what events are necessary for their progression.