Research Update: The ACRF Detector

In 2015, thanks to the generosity of people like yourself, ACRF awarded $2 million to the Australian Synchrotron for the creation of the ACRF Detector.

The ACRF Detector would enable the shape and function of proteins to be analysed on the Australian Synchrotron’s Micro Crystallography (MX2) beamline, in a fraction of the time taken. This would mean a ten-fold increase in capacity, crucial to accelerating cancer drug development.

The brilliant light of the MX2 beamline allows researchers to investigate the arrangement and activity of molecules in cancer cells (and cancer treatments) at a level of detail that is not possible at any other Australian research facility. Your support has enabled not only more research to take place, but the production of data of greater accuracy and quality. 

This means researchers will gain answers much faster, shortening the time from laboratory research to clinical trial, which tests the performance of new cancer drugs. In the last year, the Detector has been revolutionary for the MX2 Beamline at the Australian Synchrotron.

ACRF assess each grant we give based on anticipated future impact of the projects, to ensure every dollar donated generously by people like you makes the biggest difference possible to cancer research. 

We use four categories to do this. These include the human impact – the direct health benefits to people with cancer, the societal impact – the benefits to carers, family members and broader society, the intellectual impact – or the new knowledge, outcomes, jobs and research, and the leverage impact – or how the institute can snowball further funds from our initial investment. 

We are so pleased to see this project excel in each of these impact categories, and go even further. Recently, a team of Monash University researchers have used the facility to determine the 3D-structure of a SARS-CoV-2 protein at atomic resolution. These structures could potentially be used in drug screening and in targeted experiments to disrupt the replication of the COVID-19 Virus.

The COVID-19 pandemic has called for unprecedented research to be conducted into viruses. Although the focus of the research we fund will always be cancer, we’re proud that the contribution of our community will help save more lives during this pandemic. 

Together we can outsmart cancer, because of talented researchers such as these, and people like you. Thank you for entrusting us with your donations, and helping to make impact on the lives of people affected by cancer every day.