ACRF: Backing the Brightest Minds with the Boldest Ideas

As an ACRF supporter you would often hear us talking about the pioneering research your donations are enabling. As we head into May 2021, we thought it would be good to share with you the process we go through each year to select and fund these breakthrough research programs.

In March our grant selection process gets underway and by May we have received a number of applications for funding. As always, these applications are from research institutes across Australia seeking funding to enable, accelerate or expand cancer research initiatives.

To ensure ACRF funding can have the largest impact, our focus is always on the technology, equipment and infrastructure these research programs need. We often hear from scientists that technology is the most important thing needed to innovate and drive science forward. So, this area of funding continues to be our focus.

To guarantee the best and most promising projects receive funding each application is rigorously reviewed and assessed by ACRF’s volunteer Medical Research Advisory Committee (MRAC). A group of talented individuals who themselves are driving forces behind some of the best institutes and research programs across the country.

We are often asked what it takes for an idea to get funding from ACRF. We are always looking out for the big ideas, the ones that aren’t going to just take a step forward but propel us towards a world without cancer. But, these ideas need more than just guts. They have to be backed by brilliant science and thinking, they need to be feasible and they need to be sustainable beyond ACRF’s contribution.

To showcase the type of bold thinking ACRF supports we’d like to share one of our 2020 grant recipients with you. This grant, awarded to the University of Queensland’s Centre for Advanced Imaging to establish the ACRF Facility for Targeted Radiometals in Cancer (AFTRiC), aims to unlock the cancer curing potential of targeted alpha therapy.

An Australian-first facility, with a focus on alpha therapies (a type of precision medicine which has the potential to be more effective in killing cancer without damaging healthy tissue), AFTRiC met ACRF requirements to be considered for a major capital grant.

Research at the facility will focus on discovering better ways of specifically targeting and delivering therapeutic payloads to cancer cells, measuring their effects on tissue and translating them into clinical use.

ACRF funding will be used for the purchase of critical equipment needed to complete the research pathway from synthesis of novel agents to the development of new cancer therapies.

Professor David Reutens, Director of The University of Queensland’s Centre for Advanced Imaging, said “ACRF funding provides critical equipment to complete the research pathway from synthesis of novel agents through to clinical studies and patient therapy, enabling researchers to unlock the cancer-curing potential of targeted alpha therapy. The new facility will complement the nation’s most comprehensive suite of preclinical and clinical imaging research instruments at the Centre for Advanced Imaging allowing us to fast-track the development of new cancer therapies.”

We are looking forward to seeing the exciting new ideas that will be seeking funding from ACRF this year and we look forward to sharing updates on grants with you later in 2021.