The future of cancer treatment is now: Cutting-edge technology providing personalised therapy

A state-of-the-art suite of high-tech machinery, to be officially launched today, is enabling SA cancer researchers to detect, target and treat Australia’s number one killer like never before.

Thanks to a $2.5 million grant from Australian Cancer Research Foundation, the ACRF Centre for Integrated Cancer Systems Biology features next-generation equipment designed to deliver personalised treatment.

Professor Tim Hughes, Chief Investigator at the new facility, says the incredible technology and expertise is being deployed against an array of cancer streams including leukaemias, myelomas, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer.

“Cutting-edge mass spectrometry instruments will allow scientists to identify novel molecules and pathways that play key roles in cancer development and progression,” he said.

“The strength and potential for great advances that this centre presents are centred around the partnerships that have already been established across Adelaide BioMed City.”

Professor Hughes is an embodiment of the collaboration that underpins the ACRF Centre for Integrated Cancer Systems Biology. He is Co-Leader of SAHMRI’s Precision Cancer Medicine Theme, a Beat Cancer Professor with the University of Adelaide and a consultant haematologist with the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

He says the ACRF Centre for Integrated Cancer Systems Biology is being utilised by some of the world’s most respected cancer researchers.

“These highly intelligent, highly skilled professionals have extensive experience in the bench-to-bedside journey including preclinical studies, investigations with vast patient sample repositories, drug development and clinical trials,” he said.

“Where we’ll see significant advancements is through enhanced access to an expanded and well-resourced bioinformatics team that will process the complex datasets generated by this latest equipment. This will provide insights into cancer hallmarks that are specific to each patient, leading to innovative, personalised approaches to effectively treat their cancer.”

The ACRF grant was awarded in 2018 and the centre has been making a material difference to cancer research since 2019, although its official launch was delayed by COVID-19. ACRF CEO Kerry Strydom is delighted to see the revolutionary facility come to life.

“Australian Cancer Research Foundation’s mission is to back brilliance in pursuit of a cancer-free world – and this centre is nothing if not brilliant,” Strydom said.

“We look forward to seeing the strides made by the team at SAHMRI as they harness the world-class resources now at their disposal to change the lives of countless cancer patients.”

Founded in 1984, ACRF funds pioneering research and helps give scientists the tools and infrastructure needed to achieve medical breakthroughs.

So far, the organisation has awarded 82 grants totalling more than $174 million to 43 research institutes in Australia.

The equipment and its highly-trained operators at the ACRF Centre for Integrated Cancer Systems Biology are housed across two sites – SAHMRI’s headquarters on North Terrace, Adelaide, and the adjacent University of Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences building.

The centre is being officially launched by South Australia’s Governor, Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson, in a ceremony at SAHMRI today.