Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre opens new facility

The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre will open a new cancer screening facility on 16 March, courtesy of a $2.5 million grant from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF).

The Australian Cancer Research Foundation has now awarded grants totalling more than $62 million since being established 25 years ago by Sir Peter Able.

The opening of the ‘Victorian Centre for Functional Genomics in Cancer’ (VFGC) continues the fruitful relationship between the ACRF and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. The ACRF awarded a $1 million grant to ‘Peter Mac’ in 2004 to establish a Cell Biology Program.

The new ‘Australian Cancer Research Foundation Victorian Centre for Functional Genomics in Cancer’ will be fully accessible to biomedical researchers across Australia with cutting-edge technology allowing them to analyse the function of all genes in the human genome.

Most researchers using the ACRF-funded facility (VFGC) Centre will focus on aspects of cancer biology to help understand resistance, to cancer treatment drugs, and what genes are important in regulating cell shape and changes in cell behaviour which may lead to understanding what drives metastasis (the spread of cancer cells) in an individual.

Expected Benefits:

The Centre offers two complementary platforms.

The first is a viral delivery of the RNAi constructs to cells. The second, funded by the Australian Cancer Research Foundation in 2008, is a transient gene knockdown system. Researchers normally work with a single or small group of genes in the laboratory at one time but, with the aid of the robotics, the whole genome can be analysed in a matter of months. This represents a major step forward for researchers seeking to make breakthroughs in cancer research which will ultimately lead to faster cures.

“We are delighted that the $2.5 million funding from our Foundation has enabled Peter Mac to purchase the significant equipment required to manage the resource,” said ACRF Chief Executive, David Brettell.

These integrated systems, which include a fully automated liquid handling robotic platform and high throughout microscope, have formed the most comprehensive functional genomics facility in Victoria.

Importantly, by opening the Centre to the Australian biomedical community, costs can be kept to a minimum, ensuring access for all at an affordable price.

This new facility further improves and strengthens cancer research facilities in Melbourne, a city which is continuing to rapidly expand its biomedical base.

The Australian Cancer Research Foundation continues to provide funds for major projects throughout Australia at the leading edge in cancer research, with the potential to produce real breakthroughs for cancer patients.

Senior Researchers:

Professor Joe Trapani

Associate Professor Ricky Johnstone

Dr Kaylene Simpson

Dr Kieran Harvey

Types of Cancer: Breast and Prostate

Full details of the opening are available on the ACRF Victorian Centre for Functional Genomics In Cancer Opening Media Release

Read more about the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.