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Six more ovarian cancer risk genes found

Close-up of microscopeQIMR Berghofer and the University of Cambridge have led an international study, finding six new gene regions which increase a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer. The number of ovarian cancer risk susceptibility regions identified has therefore increased, from 12 to 18.

Although these risk gene variants, or “typos”, are much more subtle than the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, incorporating them into tests which predict a woman’s ovarian cancer risk would be more precise.

Head of QIMR Berghofer’s Cancer Program, Professor Georgia Chenevix-Trench said “Individually, each of these ‘typos’ increases the risk of cancer by a very small amount.”

“However, if a woman carries a large number of these ‘typos’ her risk of developing ovarian cancer may be as high as that conferred by mutations in BRCA1 or 2.”

QIMR Berghofer scientists are now part of an even bigger study which is likely to double the number of gene regions known to increase ovarian cancer risk.

“Once we identify each of these genetic ‘typos’, the next challenge is to find out the way they work – both individually and together,” Professor Chenevix-Trench said.

“Understanding how each of these variants works will eventually lead to an understanding how ovarian cancer develops, and how to develop better reduction medications and treatments.”

The ACRF is proud to have provided over $6 million in grants funding to QIMR Berghofer since 2002, for technologies and infrastructure with the power to speed up lifesaving discoveries across many cancer types.

May 2013 Monthly News

In the May 2013 edition:

  • Skin cancer drug targets ‘growth’ gene with potential to treat other disease.
  • Your chance to run the International Marathon that’s closest to home: the Auckland Marathon.
  • We celebrate workplace giving month in June.
  • #ThisIsWhyWeFight social movement launch!

Two new ACRF facilities in Melbourne will help fast-track discoveries

The Australian Cancer Research Foundation has opened two new world-class cancer research facilities in Melbourne; the new ACRF Rational Drug Discovery Centre at St Vincent’s Institute (SVI) and a new Cancer Imaging Facility at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.

These centres represent $4 million in Australian Cancer Research Foundation funding that would not have been made possible without the support of our amazing donors.

The potential for ground breaking discoveries within these world-class facilities is extremely exciting. Each of them houses the latest in advanced drug screening and imaging technologies, promising to find new treatment targets and therapeutic options faster than ever before.

Please find details about each cancer research facility below.

Continue reading “Two new ACRF facilities in Melbourne will help fast-track discoveries”

Global cancer research leaders gather

The Lowy Symposium has revealed significant developments for cancer treatments and cure during what has been an eventful month for researchers leading up to the opening of the new state-of-the-art Lowy Cancer Research Centre.

Australian and international scientists came together to share real-time data on the latest studies, and to engage in discussion and debate for improving future research.

Advanced equipment and technologies, and recent breakthroughs in drug therapies were among the highlights from the symposium.

Associate Professor Ricky Johnstone from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne said: “Throughout the meeting there was an emphasis on the use of cutting-edge platform technologies such as high throughput chemical screening and molecular imaging.”

Researchers also discussed the emergence of sophisticated new methods for discovering cancer drugs. One of those is structural biology, where scientists analyse the structure of protein molecules at a three-dimensional level. Continue reading “Global cancer research leaders gather”

Development of next-generation leukaemia treatment was kick-started by an ACRF grant

Extracts from St Vincent’s Institute Media Release, 26th of August 2009.

Recent work at St Vincent’s Institute (SVI) using the Australian Synchrotron may help in the development of next-generation drugs to treat major diseases such as leukaemia.

Professor Michael Parker’s team at SVI has used the Australian Synchrotron to visualize a protein called the GM-CSF receptor. Abnormal signalling through this family of receptors is thought to be involved in certain types of leukaemia.

“More detailed knowledge of the shape of the receptor and its function may help us to design new and potentially more effective drugs to target leukaemia,” said Professor Parker.

Continue reading “Development of next-generation leukaemia treatment was kick-started by an ACRF grant”

New facility boosts anti-cancer drug discovery

Opened today by The Hon. John Brumby MP, Minister for Innovation, the $1.1 million facility at St Vincent’s Institute includes a new X-ray crystallography machine, which works at five times the speed of its predecessor; virtual screening computers; and drug compound validation equipment.

Australian Cancer Research Foundation Chairman Tom Dery presented a $900,000 cheque to SVI Director, Professor Tom Kay and leading researchers Professor Michael Parker and Associate Professor Matthew Gillespie.

“The research work underway at this new facility is laying the groundwork for the kind of major advances in cancer research that ACRF is committed to funding,” Mr Dery said. “Dramatic technological advances have increased our ability to get to the heart of how cancer behaves and we are seeing special therapies developed to alter that behaviour and control the growth of cancer.

Continue reading “New facility boosts anti-cancer drug discovery”