Terence’s Story

In late 2015 doctors found a mass growing in my brain after a routine check-up. After monitoring it for a few years, in late 2019 my neurosurgeon discovered that the mass was growing. Two thousand and twenty sucked for a lot of people but throwing in brain surgery and six months of chemo, all while a global pandemic was raging, wasn’t how I had pictured my wedding year!

I married my wife, Alyce, in February before my surgery – just before the lockdowns, so a win for us, I guess.  The year ended much better as we welcomed our son, Ryan, two weeks after chemo ended. He’s our number two, Emily, our daughter, is four. I take my hat off to Alyce for putting up with (I mean, supporting) me through treatment all the while going through pregnancy! Now THERE’S an inspiring story, but not mine…

One day during treatment, I got talking to an older lady who has been battling cancer for years and I was in awe of her positive attitude and bubbly personality. One thing she said that resonated with me was, “My dear, chemo is just the beginning… This journey living with cancer isn’t a sprint, as they say, it’s a marathon. The real challenges are up here,” as she pointed to her head.

So, that night, I decided that 12 months after I completed chemo, I was going to run a marathon. I completed chemo on 18 September 2020. The Blackmores Sydney Running Festival marathon is on the 19 September 2021. Fate perhaps? I’ve never been much of a runner, but why let fear stop me from doing something scary or different? I can’t change the fact that I have brain cancer. What I can change is the way I feel about it and to show those around me that cancer isn’t the GAME OVER moment some people fear it is. Why waste what life we have left in fear of things that could open our eyes to the world?

I’m running this marathon for me and all brain cancer warriors out there and also the people who dedicate their lives to overcoming all forms of cancer.

There are many ways to support the work of ACRF and together, with everyone’s input, we will achieve our goal to outsmart cancer. To find out more head to acrf.com.au/get-involved

New method of treating solid tumours discovered from existing research

Prof Scott accepting ACRF grant 2011 - 1 A team of international scientists from ACRF-funded research institutes Monash University and Ludwig Institute of Cancer Research have uncovered that an antibody against the protein EphA3, could potentially be applied to treat a wide range of different cancers.

The protein EphA3 was discovered in 1992 by Professor Andrew Boyd for its role in promoting leukaemia cancer cells and an anti-body is now in clinical trials to treat this mutation in leukaemias.

Further discoveries showed aggressive brain tumours could also be targeted by this therapy, which you can read about here. EphA3 is present in normal organs only during embryonic development but is released in blood cancers and solid tumours, fuelling cancer growth and providing a target for anti-bodies.

The research team led jointly by the late Professor Martin Lackmann, from the School of Biomedical Studies at Monash; and Professor Andrew Scott, from Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research used laboratory models of prostate cancer to mimic disease progression in humans.

EphA3 was found in stromal cells and blood vessels surrounding the tumour and they observed that treatment with an antibody against EhpA3 (chIIIA4) significantly slowed tumour growth. The antibody damaged tumour blood vessels and disrupted the stromal micro-environment, and cancer cells died because their ‘life-support’ was restricted.

Professor Scott said, “in addition, we screened various tumours from patient biopsies – sarcomas, melanomas as well as prostate, colon, breast, brain and lung cancers – and confirmed EphA3 expression on stromal cells and newly forming blood vessels.”

“Our research findings indicate that the tumour micro-environment is important, and monoclonal antibodies against EphA3 are one way to target and kill a variety of solid tumours as well as blood cancer.”

[Pictured above: Professor Andrew Scott from Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research receiving a recent ACRF grant of $2 million.][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Research news: autumn 2013 edition

In the Autumn 2013 edition of the Research Review:

  • The ACRF funds Australia’s first laser scanner cytometer, to be housed at St Vincent’s Institute in Melbourne.
  • Aggressive brain tumours to be newly targeted with leukaemia therapy.
  • Researchers look at ways to empower our immune systems to fight cancer from within.
  • New possibilities in blood testing will pave the way towards better treatment plans.

Aggressive brain tumours to be newly targeted with Leukaemia therapy

Current cancer researchA new target for treating aggressive brain tumours has been discovered by researchers at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR), and better still, a therapy for this target is already in the advanced stages of development.

Originally, the protein EphA3 was discovered in 1992 for its role in promoting Leukaemia cancer cells. This finding was made by Professor Andrew Boyd at QIMR, and clinical trials have since commenced to test a treatment which targets that particular cancer cell activity.

Now, years later, Professor Andrew Boyd together with Dr Bryan Day have found the same protein is implicated in up to 50% of cases of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), particularly in the most aggressive cases.

“This protein is something we can directly target with a treatment we’ve already developed,” said Dr Day.

“It’s early days, but we know cells which express the protein EphA3 can be eradicated in the laboratory with this treatment, so it’s very encouraging.” Continue reading “Aggressive brain tumours to be newly targeted with Leukaemia therapy”

Research news: winter 2012 edition

In the Winter edition of the Research Review:

  • June 2012 Research Review‘Breast cancer’ has been reclassified into approximately ten separate diseases after a landmark UK study.
  • A US trial for a new HER-2 positive breast cancer treatment, or medical ‘smart-bomb’, is shown to extend life expectancy with fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapy.
  • Brain tumours in nine out of ten patients with metastisised melanoma have shrunk in a clinical trial run by Westmead Millennium Institute for Cancer Research.