Behind the Scenes with the Department of Human Services

supporting Australian cancer research

Throughout the months of May and June, ACRF was lucky enough to have the Department of Human Services (DHS) support us as their national 2017 DHS Games charity.

On Monday 3 July, Clare Halloran from the Social Work Services Branch – a former cancer patient with Hodgkin’s lymphoma had the chance to see things

from the other side of the fence. Clare donned a lab coat during a visit to The ACRF Department of Cancer Biology and Therapeutics at the Australian National University’s The John Curtin School of Medical Research. Joined by colleague, Jackie Paul, as well as Tamara Shaw and Stephanie Luck from the communications team, Clare got the low-down on the latest research into cancer detection.

Led by Professor Ross Hannan, Centenary Chair of Cancer Research and Head of the ACRF Department of Cancer Biology and Therapeutics at the ANU, the private tour was coordinated by ACRF’s Priscilla Leong.

“What better way to learn about ACRF and the research we fund than by entering the home of top ANU scientists?” said Priscilla.

“The tour gives participants a behind-the-scenes look into discovery-based research and the development of new compounds, drugs and diagnostic approaches for cancer treatment.”

The emphasis of the School’s research is on an understanding of the fundamental principles of human life processes and the pathologies of these processes which cause human disease.

Leading cancer researcher Professor Hannan and his team at the ANU received a $2 million grant from ACRF in December 2015. The grant was used to establish the ACRF Department of Cancer Biology and Therapeutics which features a one-of-a-kind drug screening facility, commissioned to identify new combinations of the 4,500 FDA-approved drugs that can lead to new treatments and potential cures for cancer patients. As it can take 10 years and $1.2 billion to get a new drug approved, using pre-approved drugs is a much more cost-effective, ready-made and safe option.

At the conclusion of the tour, Professor Hannan praised the work undertaken in the labs.

“The work they do could not be underestimated, we are currently expanding the department with new cancer researchers and our current goal is to raise $10 million by next year,” he said.
Clare was equally effusive.

”The lab was spectacular and it was great to see research being done in the heart of the city I call home,: she said. “Of particular interest to me was getting to look through a microscope at 20-year-old Leukemia cancer cells that were donated for research studies.

“I feel very privileged; not many people get the opportunity to see the great research and equipment inside a medical research lab! I was blown away by the enthusiasm, dedication and expertise on display today. It gives me a great deal of hope for the future.”

We’d like to send out a big thanks to DHS and all their staff who supported us through the months of May and June. Through their efforts ACRF raised just over $19,000. But to keep labs like these funded—so hope can be turned into reality— ACRF continues to rely on the generosity of others.

It’s important to mention that when you donate to ACRF, your money works a couple of ways. Not only does it go towards grants to help fund vital work, it act as leverage for places like The John Curtin School of Medical Research to attract additional grants from other entities. So in effect, your donation keeps on giving.

Workplace Giving Program — the way you can continue to support ACRF

If you haven’t donated so far—or would like to send some more money our way — why not donate regularly, or as a one-off, via the Workplace Giving Program? All donations received are processed as pre-tax deductions and donations over $2 are tax deductible. Every dollar counts, so it’s worth doing.

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