New facility at ANU takes major step in cancer fight

A new state-of-the-art Biomolecular Resource Facility has opened at The Australian National University. The facility cements the leading role The John Curtin School of Medical Research (JCSMR) plays in the race against cancer, providing access for a wide spectrum of researchers to advanced technology that is not usually available to individual research groups.

The Australian Cancer Research Foundation Biomolecular Resource Facility (ACRF BRF), officially opened by ACT Health Minister Katy Gallagher, features $1.7 million worth of equipment purchased thanks to a $1.13 million grant from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation and funding from the University.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Chubb said the ACRF BRF and the new equipment would provide greater opportunity for cross-fertilization of ideas and sharing of data between ANU researchers.

“The research carried out at JCSMR is among the world’s best, and is making a significant contribution in the race against cancer,” Professor Chubb said. “The facility offers our researchers the first rate laboratory space they need to continue their first rate work. We’re grateful for the support of the ACRF that has enabled us to equip the facility with top-of-the-line equipment.”

ACRF Chairman Tom Dery said that the Foundation was committed to funding the latest advances in cancer research.

“We are delighted to be able to support cancer research at ANU”, he said. “This equipment provides immediate access to recent technological advances that will aid in addressing many unanswered questions in cancer biology.”

Convenor of the ANU College of Medicine and Health Sciences and JCSMR Director Professor Judith Whitworth said the contribution made by the ACRF would offer value far in excess of the $1.13 million grant.

“The facility provides much of the fundamental infrastructure for investigations of the molecular aspects of cancer biology,” Professor Whitworth said.

“Each piece of equipment we purchased with the grant and funding from the University will support multiple cancer research projects and presents an extremely powerful analytical research engine.”

Professor Frances Shannon, who was the lead investigator in securing the ACRF grant said the equipment purchased with the grant was essential to an integrated approach to cancer biology research.

“We’ll be examining cancer development at every stage. The new facility and equipment will allow us to continue our work on the identification of genes that predispose people to cancer and the proteins and genes involved in the formation of cancerous cells, as well as work on deciphering the processes that determine cancer’s subsequent proliferation or rejection by the immune system.”

A viewing gallery in the new JCSMR building allows members of the public to see researchers at work in the facility.

The ACRF grant of $1.13 million was presented to Professor Judith Whitworth and Professor Frances Shannon on May 30th, 2005.