In 2015, Australian Cancer Research Foundation awarded a $2 million grant to the Australian Synchrotron for a detector that analyses the shape and function of proteins on the Institute’s Micro Crystallography (MX2) beamline. Thanks to this funding, this process is now delivered in a fraction of the time it took previously – a ten-fold increase in capacity, crucial to accelerating cancer drug development. This has been made possible by the generosity of our ACRF community.
The Australian Synchrotron houses two beamlines with complementary capabilities, MX1 and MX2.
MX1 facilitates high-density throughput screening.MX2,with its upgraded ACRF Detector, is ideal for weakly-diffracting hard-to-crystallise proteins, viruses, protein assemblies and nucleic acids – as well as smaller molecules such as inorganic catalysts and organic drug molecules.
In 2020, the ACRF Detector collected 46,683,192 diffraction images, associated with 56,045 datasets across 208 distinct group experiments, leading to advances in the understanding and potential treatment of cancers.
These advances included the first building block of a drug to target acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and a discovery that will pave the way for developing improved therapies for a range of cancers.
In 2020, 204 peer-reviewed journal publications were produced, containing data from the MX1 and MX2 beamlines, with a substantial proportion of these (~50%) published in high-impact journals.
Significantly, 152 of 480 protein structure deposits into the Worldwide Protein Bank were specifically from research undertaken using the ACRF Detector.
Research undertaken using the ACRF Detector continues to inform and assist cancer research as it expands the store of knowledge on protein structures, biomolecular processes and structural determination methods.
Thank you to all our generous supporters who continue to make progress like this possible. Together we can make a world without cancer a reality.