$8.6 million from ACRF kick-starts leading Australian cancer research projects

Three world-class Australian cancer research projects, for which ACRF grants have previously been awarded, are underway following the start of our payments this week.

The total $8.6 million in funds will ensure Australian scientists are able to work in world-class conditions with the very best equipment, working to speed up the breakthroughs in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

1. $3.1 million to The ACRF Chemical Proteomics Centre for Kinomics, at the Children’s Medical Research Institute at Westmead in Sydney. Kinomics is a new discipline in Australia comprising a very simple, yet rapid, large scale, high-throughput screening process to study the entire kinome – that is, all of the protein kinases which are expressed in a cell at a given point in time. Kinases play a role in cellular signalling, regulating everything from cell growth to inflammation. But, more importantly, when their function goes awry, kinases have been implicated in certain human cancers. Because of this role in cancer, kinases have become a priority for new drug targets.

2. The ACRF South Australian Cancer Genome Facility is a new enterprise closely aligned to scientists at the University of Adelaide. The facility, which ACRF is funding with $3.5 million, will maximise cancer research outputs by combining the unique expertise of the research team, the local tissue bank resources (the envy of many cancer research institutes world-wide) and the cutting-edge liquid nitrogen facility.

Bioinformatics is an important element of the team’s work, and our funds will be used to purchase new equipment to enable the facility to generate vast quantities of data and to optimally interpret and exploit the data to increase capacity and speed of output. The aim is to obtain greater insights into the genetic modifications that lead to the development of new tools for better diagnostics, disease prognosis, drug response, and resistance to chemotherapy. Their translation to patient care will lead to a more personalised and effective cancer management.

3. This is the third grant we’ve provided to support great research at St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research. This particular $2 million grant will fund equipment to enhance the team’s research into rational drug design, drug target identification in haematological malignancies, and research into the most common type of bone tumour called osteosarcoma. The institute has a wonderful international reputation in structural biology and cancer research collaborations. State-of-the-art equipment purchased with ACRF funds will significantly assist with their testing and analysis of new treatments for these cancers.