Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk unveiled Queensland’s newest weapon in the fight against cancer this week, opening the ACRF Centre for Comprehensive Biomedical Imaging at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.
A $2.6 million grant from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation has funded the three state-of-the-art microscopes housed by the new lab – a significant and exciting advancement for the institutes researchers.
Ms Palaszczuk said the centre would allow QIMR Berghofer to unlock new techniques which would dramatically accelerate our understanding of cancer.
“To beat cancer, we need both brilliant minds and cutting edge technology – as we can see today, QIMR Berghofer has both,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“This imaging facility will build on Queensland’s global reputation for research excellence.”
“And it builds on my government’s Advance Queensland strategy – to not only consolidate and grow our research base, but also develop investment opportunities to diversify and strengthen our economy.”
QIMR Berghofer Director and CEO Professor Frank Gannon said the new imaging equipment would allow the Institute to build on its world-leading immunotherapy program.
In recent days QIMR Berghofer has launched Phase II clinical trials of an immunotherapy treatment for nasopharyngeal carcinoma, and announced a major agreement with a global pharmaceutical company to discover cancer antibodies.
“Thanks to the generosity and vision of the ACRF we will be able to take our research to a new level of understanding and target cancer with greater accuracy as our scientists continue to deliver outcomes which have real consequences for patients,” says Professor Gannon.
The ACRF CCBI consists of three crucial pieces of imaging equipment: a multiphoton intravital microscope for imaging of live cells; a laser scanning confocal microscope for high resolution imaging of cancer at the molecular level; and a spinning disc confocal microscope for imaging signalling pathways in cancer cells.
The new equipment will also allow QIMR Berghofer scientists to study the process by which cancers metastasise, or spread, to distant tissues.
ACRF Trustee Russell Caplan said that since the ACRF was established in 1984 it has awarded more than $103.9 million to 34 research centres across Australia.
“Eleven of those grants ($23.3 million) have been distributed to research centres in Queensland and three of them have directly funded projects at QIMR Berghofer ($6.65 million).”
“These grants are awarded on the basis of research excellence and are subject to a rigorous approval process overseen by a Medical Research Advisory Committee made up of some of Australia’s most respected researchers, so it says a lot about the level of work being conducted at QIMR Berghofer,” Mr Caplan said.
To learn more about the other grants that have been awarded to leading research institutes across Australia click here.