Research Update: The ACRF Cancer Ultrasound and Function Facility

In 2016, thanks to the generosity of our dedicated supporters, The Institute for Molecular Bioscience located in Queensland was awarded a grant for $2.3 Million to establish the ARCF Cancer Ultrastructure and Function Facility (ACRF CUFF).

We are pleased to share with you a research update from the facility, to share the incredible cancer research that has taken place since this grant was awarded. 

The ACRF CUFF contains complementary state-of-the-art equipment for examining the 3D ultrastructure of cancer cells, using the newest microscopes and high-performance computing for laser imaging of live cells. 

Throughout 2019, a growing number of users from UQ and from other universities, hospitals and institutes around Australia made use of ACRF CUFF for biomedical research aimed at understanding cancer biology, developing drugs and establishing new models for cancer research. 

Cancer cell ultrastructure in 3D. By tomographic reconstructions of large numbers of ultrathin microscopic ‘slices’ cell features can be visualized in 3 dimensions in exquisite detail. In this example researchers can depict and measure specific cell endosomal compartments (pink, blue, green) and view the cell’s fluid environment or cytoplasm. Visualizing and measuring these compartments helps to understand the nature of cellular changes that occur during the transformation from normal cells to cancer cells. Such imaging can also reveal the cellular changes introduced by experimental gene editing, or with immune-based or chemotherapy treatments. Image Darren Brown IMB.

Impact Amplified

Importantly, ACRF CUFF continues to leverage further funding and support for cancer research. 

New cancer research groups and talented new group leaders have been recruited to IMB, attracted by the state-of-the-art equipment in ACRF CUFF. 

New capabilities for cancer research are created by using ACRF CUFF for training courses and promotion of the latest microscopy technologies and a highlight of the year saw ACRF CUFF hosting events and courses for microscopy professionals and researchers from throughout Australia. 

A substantial amount of competitive grant and fellowship funding was awarded in 2019 to groups using ACRF CUFF. 

The facility seeks to expand public interest and support for cancer research by hosting tours and public events. 

Finally, further expansion of the ACRF CUFF facility itself was made possible by additional internal and external equipment funding as the facility continues to keep abreast of the latest technological and scientific developments. 

This facility – a much-acclaimed legacy of the generosity of ACRF supporters – continues to be a source of exciting capacity for discovery and development in cancer research, supporting the work of a growing number of dedicated researchers, clinicians and trainees. The research outputs from ACRF CUFF are enthusiastically tracked by scientists, clinicians and the public through the scientific literature, conferences and social media. 

Leica SP8 Confocal – STED, Falcon, Lightning, Resonant Scanning