Date published: 
19 December 2017
Media type: 
Media release
Audience: 
General public

The Turnbull Government is today announcing more support for cancer research with $8 million in grants.

Through Cancer Australia, we are investing $6.5 million combined with $2.1 million from Cancer Australia’s funding partners, Cure Cancer Australia, National Breast Cancer Foundation and Cancer Council NSW.

This brings the total funding for the 2017 round of Cancer Australia’s Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme (PdCCRS) to $8.6 million.

The 24 successful grant recipients lead projects focusing on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a range of cancer types.

These include cancers of the breast, colon, head and neck, kidney, liver, lung, ovary, pancreas and prostate, as well as acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, leukaemia, melanoma and uveal (a part of the eye) melanoma, multiple myeloma and sarcoma.

There is also a strong focus on defeating and improving the outcomes of childhood brain cancers and other cancers like neuroblastoma, a cancer of the nervous system common in children.

Sixty per cent of the grant funding will go to projects that focus on rare and less common cancers and cancers with low survival rates.

The assessment process for the 2017 PdCCRS grants was done in collaboration with the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Cancer Australia’s PdCCRS has provided $124 million for priority-based cancer research since its inception in 2007.

This latest round of grant funding complements existing programs like the Australian Brain Cancer Mission which was announced in October 2017.

The Australian Government announced a $100 million fund to defeat brain cancer and provide better outcomes for people suffering from the terrible disease.

Earlier this month we announced a $640 million investment to support Australia’s world-leading health and medical researchers as they continue their work to find the next major medical breakthrough.

And only yesterday, the mid-year budget update confirmed over half a billion dollars extra for the fight against cancer with additional funding for new medicines, screening and testing.

Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme: standard project grant recipients

A list of standard project funding recipients.

Recipient/
institution

Research area

Funding

A/Prof Helen Abud

Monash University

Bowel cancer – To test how “tumouroids”, grown in a laboratory environment, can be used to predict patient responses to therapy. This will help develop a pre-clinical test that could be used by oncologists to inform patient treatment

$597,557

Cancer Australia

A/Prof Lisa Butler

University of Adelaide

Prostate cancer – To identify the key regulators of prostate cancer cell survival in cultured patient tumours. This will help to design more effective combination treatments

$596,409

Cancer Australia

Prof Anna DeFazio

University of Sydney

Ovarian cancer – To complete a comprehensive molecular analysis of “low-grade serous cancer” (a subtype of ovarian cancer) and screen drugs that target activated pathways to ultimately improve treatment outcomes

$492,411

Cancer Australia

Clinical Associate Prof Nick Gottardo

University of Western Australia

Childhood brain cancer – To determine how two identified drugs can improve childhood brain cancer outcomes when combined with chemotherapy or radiation, and how these findings can inform the design of a clinical trial

$530,428

Cancer Australia

A/Prof Ilona Juraskova

University of Sydney

Support for carers – To evaluate online education interventions (one for clinicians and one for patients and carers) to help carers be more confident, engaged, and supported partners in patient care

$593,202

Cancer Australia and Cancer Council NSW

Prof Maria Kavallaris

University of New South Wales

Lung cancer – To advance understanding and develop new and effective ways of treating tumours abnormally expressing the “cell skeleton” protein, which are associated with chemotherapy resistance and highly-aggressive lung tumours. This aims to improve long-term survival of patients diagnosed with lung cancers

$592,694

Cancer Australia

Prof Paul Keall

University of Sydney

Liver cancer – The “Liver Ablative Radiotherapy with KIM” (LARK) trial will clinically pilot a world-first Australian innovation in image-guided radiation therapy (KIM) to improve the treatment outcomes and experience for liver cancer patients

$583,371

Cancer Australia

Dr Marina Pajic

Garvan Institute of Medical Research/ The Kinghorn Cancer Centre

Pancreatic cancer – To continue research into 13 major subtypes of pancreatic cancer based on differences in tumour DNA, and to determine how more than a third of patients with this highly lethal disease may benefit from a novel combination therapy of immune-modulating and anti-invasive agents

$600,000

Cancer Australia and Cancer Council NSW

A/Prof Chamindie Punyadeera

Queensland University of Technology

Head and neck cancers – To help identify which head and neck cancer patients will develop metastasis, through the early detection of “circulating tumour cells”. This may inform appropriate treatment, reducing morbidity, deaths and healthcare costs

$599,756

Cancer Australia

Prof Des Richardson

University of Sydney

Breast Cancer – To investigate the metastasis suppressor, NDRG1, and to assess a new anti-cancer agent as a treatment for breast cancer

$583,848

National Breast Cancer Foundation

A/Prof Siva Shankar

University of Melbourne

Kidney cancer – To investigate the use of “stereotactic ablative radiotherapy” to treat patients with inoperable kidney cancer. As part of a nationwide and international multicentre clinical trial

$589,082

Cancer Australia

Dr Jennifer Stone

University of Western Australia

Breast cancer –To validate a way of safely measuring breast density in younger women aged 18-40. This can be used to inform early detection and prevention strategies for breast cancer

$592,636

Cancer Australia

Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme: Young Investigator project grant recipients

A list of young investigator project funding recipients.

Recipient/
institution

Research area

Funding

Dr Lauren Aoude

University of Queensland

 

Metastatic melanoma – To combine genomic and clinical data with PET/CT scan data to find ways to predict patient response to immuno and targeted therapies for metastatic melanoma

$100,000

Cure Cancer Australia

Dr Kelly Brooks

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

Uveal melanoma (eye cancer) – To investigate how the PLCB4 gene in uveal melanoma (the most common eye cancer) alters the normal functioning of cells. This will help identify new targets for drugs

$198,194

Cancer Australia and Cure Cancer Australia

Dr Nicholas Fletcher

University of Queensland

Breast cancer –The project aims produce a nanomedicine and to provide a combined diagnostic and therapeutic tool for triple-negative breast cancer (a tumour with poor survival outcomes) by incorporating imaging probes, as well radiotherapy to the tumour

$88,878

Cure Cancer Australia

Dr Camille Guillerey

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

Multiple myeloma – To investigate the therapeutic potential of blocking the TIGIT molecule (which hinders the elimination of cancer cells by immune cells) in myeloma patients and to determine whether TIGIT blockade, combined with chemotherapy or other immunotherapy, may cure multiple myeloma

$199,062

Cure Cancer Australia

Dr Najoua Lalaloui

Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

Leukaemia – To generate a ‘hybrid compound’, for the more effective treatment of leukaemia. In this process, the “IAP” inhibitor is chemically linked to the “MK2” inhibitor to allow for the degradation of proteins

$198,622

Cancer Australia and Cure Cancer Australia

Dr Pei Liu

University of New South Wales

Neuroblastoma (central nervous system cancer common in children) – To help treat the most common childhood solid tumour by defining the role of the “DDX21” gene in promoting neuroblastoma tumour growth, and to establish the gene as a potential therapeutic target for high-risk neuroblastoma patients

$100,000

Cancer Australia

Dr Angelica Merlot

University of Sydney

Pancreatic cancer – To assess specific molecular pathways implicated in metastasis and pancreatic cancer progression and to develop novel agents targeting these pathways. These studies will lead to the development of potent anti-cancer drugs that inhibit pancreatic cancer progression

$99,439

Cancer Australia and Cure Cancer Australia

Dr Donia Moujalled

Monash University

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia – To examine the ability of a “BCL2” and an “MCL1” inhibitor to act as a single agent or in combination with standard or novel chemotherapy drugs, to eradicate acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

$200,000

Cancer Australia and Cure Cancer Australia

Dr Kyohei Nakamura

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

Multiple myeloma – To further understand the role of the “NLRP1-IL-18 inflammatory axis” in the myeloma microenvironment, and to establish novel therapeutic strategies to block this inflammation and suppress myeloma

$95,738

Cancer Australia and Cure Cancer Australia

Dr Mark Pinese

Garvan Institute of Medical Research

Sarcoma – To comprehensively survey the complex genetic determinants of sarcoma risk by looking at the variants and parts of the genome that are usually not examined, to see if they play a role. This work will help inform a method to identify and regularly screen people at high risk of developing sarcoma

$65,000

Cure Cancer Australia

Dr Prahlad Raninga

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

Triple negative breast cancer – To test the anti-tumour activity of a specific inhibitor, “auranofin” in targeting a mutant gene that exists in a majority of patients with triple negative breast cancer

$95,738

Cure Cancer Australia

Dr Orazio Vittorio

University of New South Wales

Neuroblastoma (central nervous system cancer common in children) – To study the potential use of a compound called “Dextran-Catechin” as a targeted treatment for neuroblastoma. The compound is preferentially active in cancer cells with high copper levels (neuroblastoma cells have high levels of copper compared to non-malignant cells)

$197,756

Cancer Australia (Fighting Childhood Cancer) and Cure Cancer Australia