Remarkable progress: The ACRF Centre for Integrated Systems Biology

The Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) awarded the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) together with The University of Adelaide $2.5 million in funding in 2018. The funding was used to establish the ACRF Centre for Integrated Cancer Systems Biology, housed within both SAHMRI and within the new Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences (AHMS) building of The University of Adelaide.

Both sites reside within the impressive Adelaide BioMed City precinct, enabling the Institutes’ researchers and their collaborators’ access to efficient pipelines to rapidly translate basic biomedical research discoveries to improved health outcomes. 

Technology Acquired

The granted monies were used to acquire two Tims TOF Pro+ PASEF-enabled mass spectrometers, one housed at SAHMRI complete with Bruker’s state-of-the-art integrated imaging technology (TimsTOF Flex), dedicated to ms imaging and metabolomics.  The second Tims TOF Pro+ is housed at AHMS and dedicated to proteomics and phosphor-proteomics.  The third piece of equipment purchased, also using our contributory funding, was the Helios next generation flow cytometer, also housed at SAHMRI.  

Promising Initial Outcomes

The timsTOF FleX instrument has been operational for six months.

It has already been used in cancer research programs:

  • Prostate cancer lipidomics program to identify the spatial distribution of lipids in a novel prostate model using patient-derived tumour tissue.
  • Project targeting the gut microbiota to improve the safety and efficacy of agonistic cancer immunotherapies.
  • Development of bone marrow MS-imaging for the purposes of studying treatment-free remission in Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia.

ACRF CEO Kerry Strydom visited SAHMRI soon after the unit had been installed and was truly amazed at the incredible difference in imaging made possible by this machine.

This is the improvement made possible by donors like you.

The timsTOF Pro instrument has been fully operational for a month and has been used for:

  • Proteomic data for fundamental research into the underlying molecular biology of cancer metastasis.
  • Studying brain physiology using cell culture methods to study brain tumours.

Nurturing Collaboration

The ACRF Cellular Imaging and Cytometry Core facility is a shared resource laboratory (SRL) and part of the ACRF Innovative Cancer Imaging and Therapeutics Facility.  SAHMRI has 4 major Research Themes: Women & Kids, Aboriginal Health Equity, Precision Medicine and Lifelong Health.

The facility is utilised by researchers from all themes (SAHMRI groups and SAHMRI partner groups) as well as research groups within The University of Adelaide, University of South Australia, Flinders University, The Royal Adelaide hospital, Flinders Medical Centre, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, The Queen Elizabeth Hospitals and the greater South Australian research community.

The Helios CyTOF mass cytometer was installed in July 2019 and has been used to finalize a high dimensional panel for Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia investigating 26 parameters of each cell.

Since its installation, 11 SAHMRI research staff and SAHMRI partners have been extensively trained. Here are some of the bright minds who received the first round of training on the Helios CyTOF mass cytometer (early August 2019). 

To researchers at the ACRF Centre for Integrated Cancer Systems Biology, we thank you for your bold ideas and for your amazing efforts in working together to Outsmart Cancer.

 Pictures left to right Dr Hamilton Fraval (Integrated Science), Thaddaeus Teo (Fluidigm, Field Application Specialist), Dr Randall Grose (SAHMRI, Facility Manager), Dr Marita Broburg (AHMS/SAHMRI), Dr Yazad Irani (SAHMRI, Precision Medicine Theme, Cancer Program), Dr Barbara McClure (SAHMRI, Precision Medicine Theme, Cancer Program) and Dr Raina Wong (Integrated Sciences).