Microscopic behaviour of developing breast cells uncovered

An improved high-tech fluorescence microscopy technique is allowing researchers to film cells inside the breast as never seen before.

This new protocol provides detailed instructions on how to capture hi-res movies of cell movement, division and cooperation, in hard-to-reach regions of breast tissue.

The technology – called multiphoton microscopy – uses infrared lasers to illuminate fluorescently labelled breast cells without harming them, so that elusive cell behaviours can be observed within living tissue.

With the new method, WEHI researchers have revealed how breast cells rearrange, interact and sense their environment as the breast grows during development and recedes after lactation.

Cell imaging within living tissue has been achieved in many organs but the breast has remained especially challenging. So far, this new method has revealed exciting and unexpected details of breast biology and will help teams worldwide to advance research on breast development and cancer.

At a glance

An improved imaging protocol is allowing researchers to film cells as never seen before.

This new application of high-tech microscopy has enabled the imaging of stem cells as they guide breast development, and immune cells as they monitor the breast ducts to keep them healthy.

By imaging living, moving cells in their natural setting, researchers can better understand how our bodies function in real-time at the microscopic scale.

Understanding cell function

The protocol was developed by researcher Dr Caleb Dawson, in a team led by Professor Jane Visvader and Dr Anne Rios, in collaboration with Dr Scott Mueller from the Doherty Institute, and published in Nature Protocols today.

Dr Dawson said the filming technique unlocked a variety of applications to better understand how cells function, interact and develop.

“One of the most valuable things we have been able to film with the technique are the terminal end buds (TEBs) in breast tissue,” he said.

“These are club-like structures at the tips of the mammary ducts that grow during puberty to produce the branched tree structure of breast tissue. The unique cells inside the TEBs have never been filmed like this before so it was fascinating to watch this process for the first time.”

“We have watched a cell behaviour inside the TEB that was hypothesised in the 1980s but was never proven, and which has implications for breast stem cell function.”

Previously, TEBs had been studied by dissociating the individual cells and filming them outside the breast or by taking still images. With these approaches it is difficult to know how the cells actually behave and interact in living tissue.

“By filming the moving cells inside intact breast tissue in laboratory models, we are able to grasp a better understanding of how the cells behave and cooperate to help the breast to form and function properly.”

Dr Dawson said that he was grateful for the brilliant team and the cutting-edge technology provided by the Center for Dynamic Imaging at WEHI that made this work possible.

“When we embarked on our mission to film these processes, I had little knowledge of the effort it would require. With the vision of leading breast researchers Professor Visvader, Dr Rios and Professor Geoff Lindeman, alongside the live imaging expertise of Dr Mueller, and the microscopes available, we were able to achieve something that very few labs in the world have accomplished,” he said.

Opening the doors to new research opportunities

Dr Dawson said the filming technique could be applied to a host of research endeavours.

“Our approach enables us to image up to six fluorescent colours at the same time, which allows us to see how more cell types interact,” he said.

“We can image different stages of breast development, immune cells, lymph nodes and hair follicles and watch how individually-labelled cells function.”

“This means we can create beautiful images with extremely fine details about the cell shapes to get a better understanding of how cells interact and change over time. This opens up many new research opportunities and we are only just starting to see the potential of what this could be used for.”

Dr Dawson said he hoped the imaging protocol would make this type of imaging more widely accessible to researchers.

“There are very few research institutions doing this really high-end imaging, so it is great that we have this capacity in Melbourne and can share it with research teams worldwide.”

The original news article was posted on the WEHI website. Video courtesy of WEHI.

ACRF has awarded $10m in grants to WEHI for cancer research. Our esteemed Medical Research Advisory Committee ensures that only the most promising cancer research initiatives in Australia receive our funding. If you would like to financially contribute, please go to acrf.com.au/donate

Understanding the diet of tumours to help in the development of new cancer therapies

Removing a protein and enzyme pair can improve cancer treatmentA $2.5M grant from Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) is being awarded to The Centenary Institute today to establish the new ACRF Tumour Metabolism Laboratory.

The grant is a continuation of support to help researchers better understand the way cancer cells metabolise dietary nutrients and provide critical information to the development of new cancer diagnostics and therapies.

Researchers will be focused on three fundamental and interlinked areas: nutrient uptake into tumours, sugar metabolism and fat metabolism. From this, they hope to ‘outsmart’ the cancer cells that have evolved to the point where other forms of treatment have become ineffective.

“For years cancer researchers have focused on identifying specific changes in a patient’s genes which have been associated with cancer formation and growth, and developing therapeutics to target these changes. While this information is still vital, it is becoming clear that many cancer cells are skilful at bypassing specific genetic changes and this makes many targeted therapies only briefly effective,” says Professor Philip Hogg, Head of the ACRF–Centenary Cancer Research Centre.

This reality has led to a renewed focus on a fundamental property of cancer cells that was identified some time ago: their irregular metabolism of dietary nutrients.
“Technological advances and insights into how cancer develops have unleashed new opportunities for researchers to pioneer alternative approaches to treating cancer. This project is a shining example of ACRF’s support of projects exploring new ways to beat cancer. We’re excited at the potential it holds,” says Professor Ian Brown, CEO Australian Cancer Research Foundation.

“The chief drivers of cancer, whether genetic or inflammatory, operate through altered metabolism. This research has the potential of developing therapeutics applicable to a wide range of tumours”, says Professor Mathew Vadas AO, Executive Director of the Centenary Institute.

In addition to funding from ACRF, the Cancer Institute NSW has committed to supporting Centenary Institute by providing funding for the scientists that will carry out the research.

Chief Cancer Officer and CEO of the Cancer Institute NSW, Professor David Currow, said, “The ACRF Tumour Metabolism Laboratory provides an opportunity to gain important new knowledge of changes at the molecular level of tumours. The Cancer Institute NSW is proud to be partnering with the Australian Cancer Research Foundation in this exciting new initiative. By supporting researchers working in the lab, we hope to accelerate these important discoveries.”

Research at the ACRF Tumour Metabolism Laboratory will focus on the role of nutrient metabolism particularly in endometrial, brain and triple-negative breast tumours. These cancers are among the most difficult to treat of all cancers.

Endometrial cancer is diagnosed in more than 2,200 Australian women each year, accounts for 9.4% of all new cancer cases in women and has a 5-year survival rate of only 26%.
Glioblastoma is the most common and most malignant brain tumour and in terms of years of life lost is the highest of all the malignant cancers. It is associated with a 5-year survival rate of less than 5% and a median survival rate of less than 15 months.

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive form of cancer that accounts for 10-15% of all breast cancer cases. TNBC lacks a targeted therapy, has an increased rate of recurrence, and a lower 5-year survival rate compared to other breast cancer subtypes.

Facts and Statistics about Common Women’s Cancers: Breast, Gynaecological, Cervical and Ovarian

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Each day up to 170 women in Australia are diagnosed with cancer. With this alarming figure, ACRF is determined to make a difference in the lives of Australian women through cancer research.

To raise awareness of the cancers that affect women this month, we’ve compiled a few interesting facts and stats.

Women’s cancer facts and statistics at a glance

  • 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with some form of cancer before the age of 85
  • There are over 200 types of cancer that can affect women
  • The most common cancers diagnosed with Australian women are: non-melanoma of the skin, breast, colorectal, leukaemia and lymphoma
  • Thanks to research, survival rates were highest for women diagnosed with thyroid cancer (97%), lip cancer (94%) and melanoma of the skin (94%)

Breast cancer facts and statistics

  • 1 in 8 women diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 85
  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australian women
  • Thanks to research, the 5 year survival rate is just over 90%
  • Known risk factors are diet, alcohol consumption and physical inactivity
  • Breast cancer in men accounts for around 1% of all breast cancer occurrences

Gynaecological cancer facts and statistics

  • The risk of an individual being diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer by age 85 is 1 in 22.
  • Gynaecological cancers were the 3rd most commonly diagnosed cancer among females in Australia.
  • Known risk factors include age
  • The five year survival rate is 68%
  • Gynaecological cancers include malignant neoplasms of vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, placenta and ovaries

For more information on gynaecological cancer, click here.

Cervical cancer facts and statistics

  • The risk of a woman being diagnosed with cervical cancer by the age of 85 is 1 in 162.
  • The five-year survival rate for women with cervical cancer is 72%
  • In 2009, cervical cancer was the third most commonly diagnosed gynaecological cancer in Australia
  • Since the introduction of the National Cervical Screening Program in 1991, the number of new cases of cervical cancer for women of all ages almost halved
  • In 2006, Professor Ian Frazer and his team at the University of Queensland discovered a vaccine to prevent HPV, protecting women against most types of cervical cancer

Ovarian cancer facts and statistics

  • 1 in 75 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer before the age of 85
  • Most common most common cause of gynaecological cancer death in Australia
  • More research is needed to increase the 5 year survival rate from 45%
  • Known risk factors are family history and genetic susceptibility as well as obesity and physical inactivity
  • Symptoms are often vague and can be similar to the symptoms of many other conditions

Donate or Fundraise To Support Women’s Cancer Research

By donating, fundraising for and supporting cancer research into all cancers that affect women, you are helping to fund the next big breakthrough in cancer detection and treatment.

Our Woman’s Appeal aims to raise much needed funds for research into common women’s cancers, including breast, cervical and ovarian cancer. You can make a donation today to help fund research for women with cancer.

Cancer Research Breakthrough could help prevent breast cancer in high-risk women

Cancer researchers at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute have discovered that an existing medication could prevent breast cancer in women carrying a faulty BRCA1 gene.

By pinpointing the cells that give rise to breast cancers in women who have inherited a faulty version of the BRCA1 gene, researchers have identified that the drug denosumab may have the potential to prevent breast cancer from developing. If confirmed in clinical studies, this would provide a non-surgical option to prevent breast cancer in women with elevated genetic risk.

People who carry a faulty BRCA1 gene are at high risk of developing aggressive breast cancer. Currently, many women with the gene mutation choose surgical removal of their breast tissue and ovaries to reduce their chance of developing cancer.

Using samples of breast tissue donated by women carrying the faulty gene, Ms Emma Nolan, Professor Jane Visvader and Professor Geoff Lindeman were able to pinpoint the cells that give rise to breast cancer.

“Cancer precursor cells in BRCA1-mutant breast tissue had many similarities to aggressive forms of breast cancer,” said PhD student Ms Nolan.

“These cells proliferated rapidly and were susceptible to damage to their DNA – both factors that help them transition towards cancer. We were excited to discover that these pre-cancerous cells could be identified by a marker protein called RANK.”

Professor Lindeman, who is also a medical oncologist at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, said the discovery of RANK as a marker of cancer precursors was an important breakthrough because inhibitors of the RANK signalling pathway were already in clinical use.

“An inhibitor called denosumab is already used in the clinic to treat osteoporosis and breast cancer that has spread to the bone,” he said. “Which is what led us to investigate what effect RANK inhibition had on the cancer precursor cells in BRCA1-mutant breast tissue.”

The research team showed that RANK inhibition switched off cell growth in breast tissue from women with a faulty BRCA1 gene and curtailed breast cancer development in laboratory models.

“We think this strategy could delay or prevent breast cancer in women with an inherited BRCA1 gene mutation,” Professor Lindeman said. A clinical trial has already begun to investigate this further.

A concurrent study led by an Austrian group had also identified the importance of RANK. Both studies suggest that targeting RANK offers hope to women at high genetic risk for breast cancer.

Professor Visvader said the discovery had its basis in more than a decade of investigations of breast stem cell function.

“By thoroughly dissecting how normal breast tissue develops, we have been able to pinpoint the precise cells that are the culprits in cancer formation,” she said.

“It is very exciting to think that we may be on the path to the ‘holy grail’ of cancer research, devising a way to prevent this type of breast cancer in women at high genetic risk.”

The Australian Cancer Research Foundation has supported WEHI by providing three grants, totalling AUD 5.5million towards cutting edge cancer research equipment and technology.

The research was published in Nature Medicine. The original news post was published on the WEHI website.

I’m still standing

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“Ian and I will have been married for 46 years next month. We have spent very little time apart in those years. We have three adult children and four grandchildren. We both grew up in the country but spent some time in Brisbane before settling in the rural town of D’Aguilar, Queensland.

On Valentine’s Day in 2004, a year after we moved, I found a lump and was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I had to undergo a major operation and travel to the city for daily radium treatments. Not only did cancer have a physical impact on my body, but it also affected me emotionally and financially. For a number of years after, I suffered panic attacks and became a recluse which made it incredibly difficult to work. Six years after my first diagnosis the breast cancer was back.

Thankfully we managed to get through it all together. We never used to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but we do now because I am all clear and have been for six years now.

However, our fight against this disease wasn’t over. A week before Christmas in 2014, Ian went to see the doctor in severe pain and he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The doctors told him that unfortunately there was nothing they could do for him and that he should go home and get his affairs in order and enjoy what time he had left.

After we had got all of our affairs in order, our son suggested we have a “wake” as Ian was always saying how unfair it was that you’re not there to party with your friends and family when you die. So we had a pre-departure wake last year. It was just what we both needed – over 120 people came and it was a fantastic day.

During the day of celebrations, Ian told everyone to save the date for an ‘I’m Still Standing’ celebration in 2016 as he would still be here. And he was right.

Because Ian was keeping well, his doctors did an endless amount of scans, blood tests, and biopsies and discovered that he had a Neuroendocrine Tumour. This is a slow-growing form of pancreatic cancer, but it is still terminal. It has been an endless roller coaster ride of emotions, with a lot of twists and turns, but we are grateful for this extra time to enjoy together.

Cancer is an insidious disease that affects so many people. In the past five years, we’ve lost two brothers-in-law, I very recently lost my brother, and now I’m losing a good friend, and my husband – all to terminal cancer.

I nearly lost Ian at Christmas this year, but the fantastic staff at the Redcliffe Oncology performed a miracle and like Ian had promised, he is still here. My darling Ian is such a fighter, so I have decided to make his “I’m Still Standing” celebration day into a fundraiser for cancer research. I wanted to make a difference and help the dedicated and hardworking researchers bring an end to cancer.

We have been very humbled by the wonderful love and support of family and friends and even strangers. While I have been organising the fundraiser I have been blown away by people’s generosity. Thank you to everyone who has kindly helped this day come together. It’s going to be a fantastic event filled with lots of music, laughter, great prizes and everyone is welcome. We’ll also hold an auction, a cut and colour for cancer and have an open mic for anyone who wants to sing on the day.

I would really encourage others to donate or fundraise for cancer research because you may one day help save someone you love!

I hope that maybe our story will give someone else some comfort in their own struggle with cancer.” ACRF supporter, Carol Robinson


What research did for breast cancer patient, Shona

ACRF, Australian Cancer Research Foundation, Breast Cancer, cancer charity, cancer fundraising, cancer fun run, Cancer Research, cancer research fundraising, Challenge, charity challenge, charity foundation, current cancer research, donate to charity, Fighting cancer, Funding research, Fundraiser, fundraising, Fundraising Stories, Running for Cancer Research, Canberra, Canberra Times Australian Running Festival“My name is Shona. I’m a mother of two young girls, aged 6 and 10, and a police officer from Canberra. In November last year, a week after my 39th birthday, I discovered a lump in my left breast.

I had never been diligent about self-checking. I always thought I was too young to contemplate breast cancer but I had a feeling that this lump hadn’t been there before. I reluctantly went to see my GP in the hope she would tell me it was nothing to worry about – she didn’t.

She sent me in for testing and two days later I was booked in for an ultrasound and biopsy. The results came back the following day and I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma.

The next few days were all a whirlwind and it felt like my feet didn’t touch the ground. I was quickly referred to a breast cancer surgeon and put in contact with a breast care nurse at Calvary Hospital.

Within two weeks of my diagnosis, I underwent a mastectomy. I will be forever grateful that my lymph nodes were clear and I was sent home from the hospital three days later. I recovered from the operation with absolutely no complications and was able to return to work a few weeks later.

My medical team suggested that I have Oncotype DX testing to determine what treatment plan I would need. I only realised how important this testing was when the results came back and showed I wouldn’t have to undergo chemotherapy. Without the testing, my oncologist would have recommended chemotherapy. I am undergoing endocrine therapy, which is not without side effects, but thankfully they are minimal. Which means that I’ll be well enough to run in the Australian Running Festival half marathon in April to raise funds for cancer research.

I have now been given the all clear and I consider myself very lucky. Sadly I lost my grandmother to bowel cancer and two amazing women in my extended family to breast cancer. I am the first woman in my immediate family to undergo treatment for breast cancer and I never want to see my sisters or daughters go through what I had to.

I’m astounded by the overwhelming support I have received from my family, friends and especially my colleagues. I am so proud of my fellow brothers and sisters in blue, their generous donations have contributed to over 90% of my current fundraising total. We really try to support each other during the tough times – they are my extended family and I love them all.

I will carry scars into the future as a testament to my battle but I am determined to not let cancer kill me. I have two amazing and beautiful daughters that need their mum and I am supported by the most incredible man I call my husband. This has been a tough time for me and my family but I am thankful that I am one of the lucky ones.

Early detection and superb medical intervention means I will survive. I hope that by sharing my story I can make people aware of the importance of early detection and self-breast checks, and help raise funds for cancer research.” – ACRF supporter, Shona Davis.

Click here to support Shona’s Canberra Times Half Marathon.

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Cancer Research Saved My Parents

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Targeted laser treatments for breast cancer and early diagnostic tests for bowel cancer gave Christina more time with her mum and dad.

“The best gifts I’ve ever received were the cancer treatments that saved my parents. My mum was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was living interstate so when I got the phone call I was in utter shock and disbelief.

I came back to sit with her through as many of her appointments as I could because she just sort of shut off when they were going through all the different options, I think it was just too much to take in all at once. We had never been touched by cancer before, so everything we were hearing was new.

At an appointment, one of the doctors explained to us that there was a new experimental treatment available that allowed them to better target cancerous lymph nodes, which meant that she could still keep her healthy ones.

This new treatment was not only successful, it also lessened the aftermath of surgery. Some people may not know, but treatments have come a long way. This was a really eye-opening experience for me because it was the first time I could really see it first-hand.

Later that year my dad was diagnosed with bowel cancer and we actually thought it was a cruel joke because the diagnosis was now the third one to hit our family over just a few months’ time. We lost my grandpa to oesophageal cancer shortly after my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I think after that we were on high alert because my dad noticed he was having symptoms and went in for testing straight away. It was because of this that they were able to catch bowel cancer early. I’m so thankful for the hard lessons we learned because I know they played a big part in saving my dad’s life.

I know there are a lot of great charities out there, but the thing with cancer research is that you never know how many lives could be saved with the next breakthrough.”

Christina Belperio – Regular Giver of the Month

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Fiona knows how precious time is

ACRF, Australian Cancer Research Foundation, Breast Cancer, cancer charity, cancer fundraising, Cancer Research, cancer research fundraising, charity foundation, donate to charity, Donations in lieu of gifts, Fighting cancer, Funding research, Regular donations to charity, Regular donations, Regular charity donations, Regular giving, Monthly charity donation, monthly donation

“I will forever cherish the Christmas holidays I spent with my mum and my sister. My mum Annie was sedated and on pain relief, but she smiled and was so happy when I told her that she was finally going to be a grandmother. I still remember holding her hand and the way she smiled when I told her. My father kept joking saying ‘You’re going to be Grannie Annie, Grannie Annie.’

She now has six grandsons but sadly she didn’t get the chance to meet any of them. I think my mum would have been so proud of what thoughtful caring young men they have turned out to be. They have their grandmother’s sense of compassion and mischievous sense of humour.

My mum was totally devoted to her family. She was so loving and supportive and was a fantastic role model for me and my two sisters – Andrea and Dominique. I’ve always tried to be as loving and giving as she was. I could easily talk to her about anything and she had this strength about her that I’ve always admired so much.

My family originally came from Great Britain, and so every Christmas we’d have roast turkey with stuffing, baked potatoes and veggies, plum pudding with hot custard – even if it was 38°C. I’ve continued with the turkey (I just serve it cold with salad and seafood now). But I still love my Christmas pudding served hot so that is something that will never change! Also every Christmas me and my three siblings would hang up our Christmas stockings for Santa, and every year we’d find them filled in the morning with a small present.

My husband Colyn and I carried on this tradition when we had Fraser and Lachlan – I even still try and put out their stockings though they sometimes grumble good-naturedly because they’re now teenagers.

Losing my sister to the same disease cut a wound that will never heal. My sister Dom would do anything for anyone.

Riley & mum Thornleigh - 1-2003

She was well respected and loved and this was shown in the large crowd of friends and family who attended her funeral. She was special. Dom was also quite shy and quiet like my mum. She was passionate about the environment and worked as a volunteer.

She loved being a mum – it was her greatest joy. She loved to take her boys out and would run around and play with them.”

At night it was time for bedtime stories and cuddles. Because Riley and Logan loved Thomas the Tank Engine her husband,  Ross built cubbyhouse and Dominique spent hours painting the face of Thomas the Tank Engine on the front. She would make special little carrot muffins for her boys because she knew they loved them.

She would take them to outings and loved taking them for bush walks and showing them the birds, trees and other flora and fauna. She started up a mothers group where she lived as a chance for mums and babies to play and get to know each other.

Her family miss her so very much, it was the special little things that she did for them.

Being there to cuddle them and love them when they were sad or upset. Riley and Logan’s dad and grandmother shower them with love and take them on lots of adventures and holidays but they still miss their mum.”

– Fiona Henrisson, ACRF Supporter

Join Fiona and become a cancer research supporter today

Making a Difference in Michael’s Name

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“My family has been touched by cancer a few times, but the two that hurt the most were the loss of my mother and then my husband.

My mother was recently retired when she told me she had found a lump in her breast. After lots of convincing, my sisters and I finally got her to visit the doctor. What she hadn’t told us was that she had first noticed the lump six months ago and by then it had grown extremely large. This was 20 years ago and there weren’t many options available to her at the time. After fighting through 15 months of gruelling treatment she sadly lost her battle with breast cancer.

Years later, Michael, my wonderful husband and the father of our four sons was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at 54 years old. We were really shocked as he had always enjoyed good health and was not showing any symptoms other than an itchy feeling under the skin. Our doctor however, did not suspect good news and the blood test proved it.

Michael endured a lot to try and beat the cancer. He went through one and a half rounds of chemo and underwent a very high risk operation called a Whipple procedure. Thankfully he made it through but it was a long, hard road to recovery after the extensive surgery.

Thanks to the expertise of the doctors and their teams things began to look more positive, but we were only able to spend an extra 22 months with Michael before he passed away at 56 years old.

I donate in Michael’s name each month and hope that my little bit will make a difference so we can find a cure for all cancers. I chose to support the Australian Cancer Research Foundation because it’s a non-profit organisation that awards grants to the most ground-breaking research teams in Australia. I know my donations will help cancer researchers to continue fast-tracking discoveries for the future.”

– Jannelle Scerri, Regular Giver of the Month

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Remembering Rosemary

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“In the UK in 1998, my twin sister, Rosemary discovered a lump on her breast and was diagnosed with breast cancer at only 38 years old.

Rosemary and her husband were busy parents with four kids – two teenagers Rachel and Tommy, an 11 year old daughter, Jenny and a 9 year old son, Sam. Her illness was extremely hard on the whole family. We felt powerless as we watched her endure so much pain and distress at the thought of leaving her children.

Rosemary fought courageously and was an inspiration to her community. Her friends and neighbours rallied to support the family during their time of need. The locals made renovations to their house to make her life easier and raised money to send her on a trip to visit me in Australia. This was one of the happiest months of my life, we shared precious time reconnecting and reminiscing about our childhood.

It was heart-warming to know that so many people were offering a helping hand where they could. Wednesdays became known as ‘Rosemary Day’ in the area and each week, for three whole years, a group of ladies would take her out for the day. They would visit beautiful and interesting places and then have dinner together at their favourite restaurant.

After five years of suffering Rosemary sadly lost her battle on her daughter’s 11th birthday. It is now a bittersweet day for the family and each year on the anniversary the four children meet in the church garden to celebrate their mother. The two girls also “Run for Rosemary” in Mother’s Day fundraising marathons.

As her twin sister I feel her loss greatly, it’s very upsetting for me knowing that she did not get to see her children grow up or meet her grandchildren. I know that Rosemary would be so proud of her family and how much they have cared for each other.

Over the years, cancer has continued to touch the lives of friends and others around me. A couple of years ago my husband and I realised the importance of cancer research first hand when he was diagnosed with melanoma and took part in a research trial. He has since developed kidney cancer and is being treated with targeted immune therapy which would not have been possible a few years ago.

I often think back to the time when Rosemary developed cancer and appreciate all the progress that has been made since then. I support the ACRF with a monthly donation and have left a bequest in my will. I know my donations go towards helping the ACRF fund the necessary equipment that allows researchers to make many more life-saving discoveries. I hope that together we can spare many families the heartbreak of losing their loved ones in the future.”

ACRF Regular Giver of the Month, Ann Smith

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Promising step forward for triple negative breast cancer treatment

Triple Negative Breast CancerCancer researchers in the UK have linked an overactive gene to a particularly aggressive type of breast cancer called “triple negative” breast cancer.

The team, from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge, identified the gene called BCL11A as especially active in triple negative breast cancer, raising hope for those affected by this cancer type.

Prognosis for triple negative cancers is generally poorer than for other forms as there is limited knowledge of the distinct genetic properties of the disease, making the development of new treatments difficult.

Generally, therapies used in treating other breast cancer types, like tamoxifen, do not work on this type of cancer because triple negative tumour cells lack three of the different ‘receptor’ molecules that are targeted by the treatments.

Most triple-negative breast cancer tumours are of a genetic type called ‘basal-like’. BCL11A was found to be overactive in tumour samples from around eight in 10 patients with the ‘basal-like’ disease.

Dr Pentao Liu, senior author on the study, said BCL11A activity stood out as being particularly active in samples from triple negative cancers.

Dr Walid Khaled, co-author on the study said, “Our studies in human cells clearly marked BCL11A as a novel driver for triple-negative breast cancers.”

This discovery builds on researchers’ work to develop a broader understanding of breast cancer which will inform clinical decisions, treatment choices and finding new therapies.

For more information, please click here.

Existing drug for bone disease shows promising anti-cancer properties

imageAn existing drug, currently used to treat patients suffering from osteoporosis and some late-stage bone cancers, has now shown potential to treat other cancers outside of the skeletal system, such as breast cancer.

Several clinical trials, where women with early-stage breast cancer were given this drug, called ‘bisphosphonates’, alongside normal treatment for the disease, have resulted in a ‘survival advantage’ and, in some cases, stopped the cancer from spreading.

A new study by Professor Mike Rogers, Dr Tri Phan and Dr Simon Junankar from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research found, using sophisticated imaging technologies, has revealed more information about how this advantage works.

They found the bisphosphonates attach to tiny calcifications within the tumours.

These calcium-drug combinations are then devoured by ‘macrophages’, immune cells that the cancer hijacks early in its development to conceal its existence.

“We do not yet fully understand how the macrophages revert from being ‘bad cops’ to being ‘good cops’, although it is clear that this immune cell interacts with tumours, and probably changes its function in the presence of bisphosphonates,” said Professor Rogers.

“Our next step will be to analyse the changes that take place in macrophages, so that we can understand their change in function, and effect on cancer cells.”

Professor Rogers explains cancer scientists already know that the drug is well-tolerated in people, providing a “survival advantage” for some patients with certain cancers when taken early in disease development.

“This now provides a rationale for using these drugs in a different, and potentially more effective, way in the clinic,” said Professor Rogers.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Blood test could predict risk of non-hereditary breast cancer

bloodtestA simple blood test could soon be made possible to predict those at risk of non-hereditary breast cancer.

Breast cancer can be caused by many factors, including gene mutations which are passed from parents onto their children. For example, the hereditary breast cancer gene, BRCA1, accounts for around 10% of breast cancer cases. The majority of cases however, are caused by factors not yet entirely understood.

But researchers are beginning to make headway. An epigenetic signature has been identified across all women who carry the mutated BRCA1 gene. Strikingly, researchers have found the same signature was discovered in the blood of women without the BRCA1 mutation but who went on to develop breast cancer, making it a potential early marker of women’s cancer in the general population.

Cancer scientists now understand that mutations within genes are not the only contributors to the development of disease. The arrangement and expression of our genes has a major impact, and this is overseen by the process of epigenetics.

One of the most studied epigenetic mechanisms is a process called DNA methylation, which was the focus of this particular study.

Researchers looked at the DNA methylation signature in the blood of women both with and without BRCA1 mutations. When the signature was applied to the samples from both of these groups, the women who had developed non-hereditary cancers were found to have the same DNA methylation signature as those with the hereditary gene.

Professor Martin Widschwendter, the study’s lead author and head of the UCL Department of Women’s Cancer, says: “We identified an epigenetic signature in women with a mutated BRCA1 gene that was linked to increased cancer risk and lower survival rates. Surprisingly, we found the same signature in large cohorts of women without the BRCA1 mutation and it was able to predict breast cancer risk several years before diagnosis.”

Further research is required to find out whether this epigenetic signature is just an indicator of breast cancer risk or is involved in the actual development of breast cancer. Work is now also being undertaken to use these findings in clinical trials.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

‘Liquid’ cancer test to replace invasive biopsies

Peter MacCallum Cancer CentreA ‘liquid biopsy’ developed by Melbourne researchers has the potential to determine whether malignant tumours are shrinking, faster and more accurately than ever before. This simple new test would replace invasive tissue biopsies by analysing cancer tumour DNA in the blood.

Clinician researcher Dr Sarah-Jane Dawson from ACRF-funded research institute Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre said looking for this circulating tumour DNA in blood had been like ‘looking for a needle in a haystack’. However new-generation genetic sequencing allows a complete snapshot of the cancer to be captured as it evolves.

“As the cancer cells turn over they release their DNA into the bloodstream. While we’ve known this for some time, it’s only been recently with advances in genomic technologies that we now have sensitive techniques that allow us to very precisely identify this small fraction of tumour DNA in the blood.”

“We think this is a really exciting development and it does hold a lot of promise for making a big difference to the management of cancer patients.” Dr Dawson said.

A clinical trial testing the liquid biopsy in Victorian breast cancer patients is due to begin next year.

Dr Dawson said in an ideal world, regular biopsies would be taken during someone’s treatment. But often that’s not feasible, and it’s invasive.

“By repeating these blood tests regularly, they may give us a very accurate understanding of whether someone is responding to their treatment or not — which is very important for a woman to understand.”

“She doesn’t want to be on a treatment that’s not working, or be exposed unnecessarily to side-effects, when she could be switched to a therapy that could be more effective,” Dr Dawson said.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Powerful predictor discovered for aggressive breast cancers will ensure more effective treatment

A new, more powerful predictor for aggressive breast cancers, discovered by Dr Fares Al-Ejeh at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, will give women a more accurate prognosis and ensure they are receiving the most effective treatment for their breast-cancer type.

Every woman’s breast cancer has its own individual gene fingerprint – a specific combination of genes. Dr Al-Ejeh’s research has found new gene “signatures” which can predict likely survival across breast cancer cases.

Continue reading “Powerful predictor discovered for aggressive breast cancers will ensure more effective treatment”

Unprecedented success in trialling new adult leukaemia therapy

A new, potentially life-saving drug has raised new hope for patients in advanced stages of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia – one of the most common types of adult leukaemia in Australia.

In many cases this cancer becomes resistant to traditional treatment methods such as chemotherapy. This is because of its high levels of a “pro-survival” protein called BCL-2 that render cancer cells, according to Walter and Eliza Hall Institute haematologist Prof. Andrew Roberts “basically indestructible”.

Continue reading “Unprecedented success in trialling new adult leukaemia therapy”

“Cutting out Cancer” Rodeo helps raise funds for cancer research

Gundagai recently hosted a most successful campdraft rodeo event called “Cutting out cancer”, organised by local, Toni Hart, who is currently battling HER2 Breast Cancer.

Competitors and spectators were invited to wear pink to support the event, with $2 from every entry fee generously donated by the Gundagai Rodeo Club.

Continue reading ““Cutting out Cancer” Rodeo helps raise funds for cancer research”

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: How ACRF Is Outsmarting Women’s Cancers this October

October is known around the world as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The aim of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to increase awareness of breast cancer and the impact it has as well as to raise much needed funds. To celebrate breast cancer awareness month, people engage in fundraising activities and purchase pink merchandise to raise money for this fantastic cause.

At ACRF however, we refer to October as our “Women’s Cancer Month” – a time where we raise awareness and much needed funds for all types of cancer that affect Australian women, as cancer statistics show 1 in 4 Australian women will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 75.

Why we are determined to find better prevention, detection and treatment methods for women’s cancers

At ACRF, we are committed to improving prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all types of cancer. That is why, this October we are focusing on all cancers that affect women, not just breast cancer.

Every day up to 50 women in Australia are diagnosed with breast or gynaecological cancer. These cancer types include uterine, cervical, vulva and ovarian – cancers which are sometimes forgotten and unfortunately under-funded. Then there are other common women’s cancers which we need to remember this October: these include; bowel, lung and skin cancers.

We are committed to funding research through our grants and research projects into these cancer types, bringing new hope to our mothers, daughters, sisters, cousins and friends around the world.

Continue reading “October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: How ACRF Is Outsmarting Women’s Cancers this October”

Research news: spring 2013

In the spring edition of the Research Review:

  • Research advances building precision tools for diagnosis and cancer surgery.
  • Breast cancer treatment could be enhanced with an existing anti-leukaemia compound.
  • ‘Junk’ DNA and its role in cell growth and development



Pancreatic cancer researchers find important molecular similarity between cancer types

High levels of the HER2 molecule have been identified in 2% of pancreatic cancer cases – indicating new treatment options could be possible via an existing therapy.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most devastating cancer types, with a five year survival rate of less than 5%. It is also one of the most elusive cancers, with significant variability in molecular behaviour across cases, which dictates how the cancer behaves.

This means that each tumour will only respond to treatments that target its unique molecular blue-print.

But new research, supported with significant funding by the Australian Cancer Research Foundation and published in Genome Medicine, has suggested the treatment ‘Herceptin’ could bring new hope to these pancreatic cancer patients. Herceptin is currently available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for breast and gastric cancers with high expressions of HER2, and clinical trials will show whether the drug is equally effective in pancreatic cancer patients.

The HER2 pancreatic cancer sub-group was identified following a series of modern genetics and traditional pathological assessments to estimate the prevalence of HER2- amplified pancreatic cancer. Continue reading “Pancreatic cancer researchers find important molecular similarity between cancer types”

Treatment for breast cancer enhanced with anti-Leukaemia compound

WEHI image Profs Visvader, Lindeman, and HuangMore than two decades of research at the Walter and Eliza Hall institute (WEHI) in Melbourne has culminated in a potentially life-saving discovery for women with the most common form of breast cancer.

In the late 1980s scientists at the WEHI identified a “pro-survival” protein called BCL-2 that helps cancer cells to become immortal and resist treatments such as chemotherapy. This work has contributed to the development of a compound which neutralises this vital cancer protein, and it is now in clinical trials to treat some types of leukaemia.

But latest news from the WEHI is that this compound has even more potential.

In 85% of women with oestrogen receptor-positive (or ER-positive) breast cancer, researchers have found very high levels of the very same BCL-2 protein.

Using the world-class facilities made possible through ACRF funding they were able to trial this ant-cancer compound in pre-clinical ER-positive breast cancer models, and found that it was successful when combined with an existing breast cancer drug, Tamoxifen. Continue reading “Treatment for breast cancer enhanced with anti-Leukaemia compound”

Triple-Negative Breast cancer stopped in its tracks with new treatment trial

Researchers at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research have run early studies of a new combination of treatments for breast cancer, with 100% success rate.

The treatment targets late-stage triple negative breast cancers, for which the average survival rate is only 12 months. This type of cancer is most common in young women and accounts for approximately 20% of breast cancer cases in Australia.

Unlike other cancer cells, triple negative breast cancers don’t have any of the three usual surface receptors, which would normally be the target of treatment.

But this latest treatment trial shows that targeting radiation specifically to an overload of proteins (known as EGFR) together with a dramatically reduced dose of chemotherapy is effective in stopping both the cancer growth, and its recurrence. Continue reading “Triple-Negative Breast cancer stopped in its tracks with new treatment trial”

Manipulating molecules to enhance breast cancer treatment

funding research into breast cancerThe ACRF is proud to have funded a cutting-edge research discovery at Sydney’s Garvan Institute which revealed a known ‘transcription factor’ could be at the heart of many ineffective breast cancer treatments.

‘Transcription factors’ are molecules which act like a switch – turning genes on and off to change the behaviour and characteristics of our cells.

‘ELF5’ is one such transcription factor, best understood for its role in triggering oestrogen-receptor negative (ER-negative) cells for the development of breast milk during pregnancy.

But cancer researchers at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research have also shown that ELF5 can prevent breast cancer treatments from working.

In a preclinical study, Associate Professor Chris Ormandy and his team found that ELF5 can make an oestrogen-receptor positive (ER+) tumour cell behave like an ER- negative cell.  Continue reading “Manipulating molecules to enhance breast cancer treatment”

$7.5 million in funding to the most promising cancer research in the country!

Funding research - current cancer researchThe Australian Cancer Research Foundation is committed to fighting cancer by funding research, tonight investing a further $7.5 million into the search for the cures.

At the cancer charity’s annual Chairman’s Dinner in Sydney, donors, fundraisers and researchers came together to celebrate the incredible research outcomes made possible through ACRF funding.

They also acknowledged the promising future of cancer research in Australia, as the ACRF made multi-million dollar grants available to three visionary research projects.

The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, and Brisbane’s Diamantina Institute and Centre for Clinical Research all received a significant funding boost of $3.5 million and $2 million each, respectively. At these cancer research centres, the ACRF will be funding research into rare cancers, as well as facilitating world-class, targeted detection and treatment programmes.

Supporting women's cancers in October!

October is a time when we go pink for a most important cause: Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is a movement that has made a huge impact on breast cancer funding and research progress around the world.

At the ACRF however, we want to focus on all types of women’s cancers this October: breast AND gynaecological cancers – such as uterine, ovarian or vaginal.

We want to see equally significant progress made for patients with these lesser funded, though no less devastating cancer types.

These cancer types affect our mothers, daughters, sisters, wives or girlfriends and friends, and your donation will give these women hope in the fight against cancer.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”21690″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_separator color=”grey”][/vc_column][/vc_row]A message from Helen Bathgate: Breast cancer survivor

“I was teaching at school when the GP phoned and said she wanted to see me. It was that dreaded news that I guess I’d half been expecting. My cousin had been diagnosed with breast cancer about two weeks earlier and I’d been able to feel a hard lump running down the side of my right breast.

“I had the operation eight days later. I had a mastectomy and they cut 14 lymph nodes out – 11 of them were cancerous.

“The doctors don’t tell you you’re ‘cured’ – but I certainly feel like one of the lucky ones. I’ve been in remission for nearly five years now. It can come back at any time though, and that’s what stays with me. My cousin’s breast cancer has returned. So far, fortunately, they’ve been able to control it.

“The women in our family have been tested for any known cancer-causing genes, but they came back negative. Research will be the only way to learn more about this terrible disease. It’ll be the only way we can find a cure.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”19604″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Thank you for helping us fund the treatments & cures for women's cancers

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ACRF opens two new cancer research facilities in Melbourne

Cancer Research boost through ACRF fundingTwo new ACRF-funded cancer research facilities at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute have today been officially opened by the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Councillor Robert Doyle.

Thanks to a $2 million ACRF grant, these new divisions will expand the institute’s current cancer research into the causes and treatments for some of the most prevalent cancers in Australia.

In particular the ACRF Stem Cells and Cancer Division will study the biology of epithelial cancers – which account for 80% of human cancers – including breast, lung and ovarian cancers. Continue reading “ACRF opens two new cancer research facilities in Melbourne”

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.

Targeted breast cancer treatment prolongs life and reduces side effects!

A new treatment is being heralded as a ‘smart-bomb’ for breast cancer following very promising studies in a Phase III clinical trial based in the US.

Researchers at the Duke Cancer Institutes administered a new drug ‘T-DM1’ to almost 1000 women with the specific breast cancer type ‘HER-2 positive’, and found it prevented patients’ advanced tumours from progressing while delivering fewer side effects compared to conventional treatments.

“As a clinician who takes care of breast cancer patients, it’s important to have a treatment that is both effective and well tolerated,” said director of the Breast Cancer Clinical Program at the Duke Cancer Institute, Kimberley Blackwell.

“This is a drug that brings us another step closer to treating cancer without the side effects of chemotherapy.”

HER-2 breast cancer is distinguished by high levels of a protein known as ‘human epidermal growth factor’ which promotes cancer cell growth. It accounts for about 20% of invasive breast cancers. Continue reading “Targeted breast cancer treatment prolongs life and reduces side effects!”

Breast cancer study set to revolutionise diagnosis and treatment for patients

Researchers from the UK have “re-written the rulebook” * on breast cancer research with what is being called a ‘landmark’ study.

They have reclassified the disease into ten categories, where formerly it was understood there were four, based on the genetic fingerprints of breast cancer tumours from 2,000 women in the UK and Canada.

The implications of this study are significant: Women with breast cancer can now be identified as having a more specific disease – one of ten under the breast cancer “umbrella” – and their prognosis, and subsequent treatment options will be better defined as a result. Continue reading “Breast cancer study set to revolutionise diagnosis and treatment for patients”

Breast cancer researcher elected to the Australian Academy of Science

Professor Visvader elected to the Australian Academy of ScienceThe ACRF would like to congratulate breast cancer researcher at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Melbourne, Professor Jane Visvader for her recent election to the esteemed Australian Academy of Science.

The fellowship recognises Professor Visvader’s breakthrough research into defining the full genealogy of cells in the breast, and clarifying which of these cells gives rise to different types of breast cancer.

Professor Visvader, who jointly heads the institute’s ACRF Stem Cells and Cancer division with Professor Geoff Lindeman, said she was humbled to be one of 21 Australian scientists to join the Academy this year. “This recognition reflects a team effort between a wonderful group of scientists over many years,” she said.

Cancer research partnership will improve treatments for patients

Cancer Research boost through ACRF fundingNew laboratories funded by ACRF are set to strengthen cancer research for some of the most prevalent cancers in Australia.

ACRF’s recent $2 million grant has allowed the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne to expand and enhance existing research programs into the causes of, and new treatments for breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer and leukaemia.

In order to do this, the ACRF funding will be directed into two particular cancer research divisions, known as ‘The ACRF Stem Cells and Cancer Division’ and ‘The ACRF Chemical Biology Division’.

“Lung cancer is the greatest cause of cancer-related death in Australians, while breast cancer is a leading cause of mortality in women,” said Professor Geoff Lindeman, joint head of the ACRF Stem Cells and Cancer Division (pictured, middle).

“These are diseases that are very prevalent, and patients need better treatments” he said. “Similarly, more research is needed into ovarian cancer, which is poorly understood and for which the outlook for patients is very poor. We need new treatment strategies, ACRF’s support will help us to do that.”

Continue reading “Cancer research partnership will improve treatments for patients”


Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women worldwide. It has a devastating impact on those diagnosed and the people around them.

What is breast cancer awareness month?

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is held annually in October. It aims to raise awareness and generate support for breast cancer by raising much needed funds to improve it’s diagnosis, prevention and treatment.

This month also serves as a reminder to women to put their health first and get regular check ups for breast cancer.

How you can support breast cancer awareness month

There are a number of ways you can get involved and support breast cancer awareness month. Some ideas include;

  • Spreading awareness by adding a touch of pink to your wardrobe throughout the month to help start a conversation 
  • Using social media or engaging in conversations with your friends or family and using these platforms to talk about breast cancer, the impact of it and the importance of regular check ups 
  • Getting involved in a charity walk or run that raises money for breast cancer 
  • Making a donation to a cancer research charity such as ACRF, who are committed to improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer

How ACRF is contributing to Breast Cancer research

“Research and more research is the key to defeating cancer,” says Chief Executive, Mr David Brettell.

“Since ACRF was established in 1984 we have given 16 multi-million dollar grants to research that is investigating preventative, diagnostic and/or treatment methods for breast cancer.” Continue reading “HOW TO SUPPORT BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH”

Promising news for treating aggressive breast cancers

Researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) have found a new anti-cancer agent called ABT-737 that targets and neutralises Bcl-2 “pro-survival” proteins in cancer cells.

The project was undertaken at WEHI’s world-class cancer centre, which has received significant ACRF funding over the last five years.

This funding allowed researchers to better study the characteristics of proteins from the Bcl-2 family which are found at high levels in up to 70% of breast cancers – including typically aggressive ‘triple negative’ breast cancers – and work to prevent cell death, even in cells that have been damaged by chemotherapy. Continue reading “Promising news for treating aggressive breast cancers”

ACRF funds landmark discovery

At the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF), we love to see results and that’s why we’re investing more than ever in world-class equipment and infrastructure for research into cancer.

Since 1987 we’ve provided 41 grants totalling almost $71 million to Australian cancer research institutes ($48 million of which has been awarded in the last six years). We profile some of the latest breakthroughs:

1) In a landmark discovery, scientists at the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute have discovered the links between breast cancer risk and exposure to female hormones. This breakthrough research project – partially funded by a $5million ACRF grant – found that breast stem cells, despite lacking receptors for the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone, are still extra sensitive to sustained exposure to these hormones.

2) ACRF funding means researchers at the Garvan Institute are now closer to ‘switching off’ the gene identified as causing prostate cancer, following a world-first detailed description of gene expression in prostate cancer cells. ACRF has now awarded two research grants to the Garvan, the latest of $5million in honour of Lady (Sonia) McMahon.

3) Researchers at the Queensland Brain Institute’s ACRF Brain Tumour Research Centre are saving patients’ lives by safely taking primary tissue samples directly from patients and separating tumour cells from contaminated normal tissue, blood cells and cellular debris – made possible with numerous scientific instruments funded by ACRF.


One dollar and one mighty mountain…

WATCH this space as one unstoppable young lady shows how $1 really has the power to change the world!

Amanda Ghirardello, 27, is setting out to trek through the mighty Himalayas in March 2011 and hopes to encourage one million individuals to support her fundraising efforts by donating just $1 each to The Australian Cancer Research Foundation.

Despite having no previous mountaineering experience, Amanda will climb first to Mount Everest Base Camp at an elevation of 5400 metres above sea level and then go on to ascend Island Peak which stands at 6190 metres.
Continue reading “One dollar and one mighty mountain…”

Breast cancer stem cell discovery follows $5 million grant from ACRF

walter_eliza_building1Scientists at the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) are now able to explain the links between breast cancer risk and exposure to female hormones, paving the way for breast cancer preventions and treatments.

The research, led by Dr Jane Visvader and Dr Geoff Lindeman, was partially supported by a $5 million grant from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF). The new discovery was published in the international journal Nature on 12 April 2010.

The research team at the Institute discovered that breast stem cells, despite lacking receptors for oestrogen and progesterone, are still extra sensitive to sustain exposure to the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Continue reading “Breast cancer stem cell discovery follows $5 million grant from ACRF”