World-Class Radiochemistry Lab to Open at Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute


Olivia Newton-John’s legacy continues to inspire with a cutting-edge radiochemistry laboratory to be established at the cancer research institute bearing the beloved entertainer’s name in Victoria.

Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) has today awarded a $2.1 million grant to establish the state-of-the-art ACRF Centre for Precision Medicine at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute.

Precision oncology can benefit up to 50% of cancer patients by determining the most effective treatment based on their cancer’s profile, rather than a one size fits all approach.

The ACRF Centre for Precision Medicine will utilise a “theranostic” approach of combined imaging and treatment with novel drugs to enhance therapeutic responses and exploit new technology for tumour treatment. Theranostics is an exciting new area of cancer treatment – a form of precision medicine in which radioisotopes are combined to diagnose and treat a tumour.

For example, Lu-PSMA-617 is under consideration in Australia after recently being approved to treat prostate cancer in the US and Europe. New theranostic targets will be developed and validated at the ACRF Centre for Precision Medicine for use across several cancer types.

The radiochemistry lab at the heart of the ACRF Centre for Precision Medicine will support the supply of radiopharmaceuticals for theranostic trials – meaning Australian cancer patients can access new diagnostics and therapies as they are developed.

Chief Investigator, Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute’s Professor Andrew Scott AM, said: “Precision medicine has been described as the future for cancer treatment, whereby identifying key targets in a patient’s cancer and individualising treatments based on appropriate treatment selection can result in improved outcomes.

“The ACRF Centre for Precision Medicine will establish a unique and exciting capability for translation of discoveries into the clinic and provide a key technology for theranostics for multi-centre clinical trials across Australia.

“This will link outstanding researchers in cancer biology, drug development, radiochemistry and molecular imaging of cancer, leading to novel therapeutic approaches and clinical trials.”

Australian Cancer Research Foundation CEO Kerry Strydom, said ACRF is proud to enable transformative research that will be conducted at the ACRF Centre for Precision Medicine, accelerating translation of discoveries into the clinic to ensure optimal outcomes for cancer patients.

“ACRF supports innovation that leads to better ways to prevent, detect and treat all cancers. With precision medicine and theranostics, in particular, regarded as the way forward for effective cancer treatment, we anticipate lifesaving impact from the ACRF Centre for Precision Medicine,” Kerry added.

ACRF will formally award the $2.1 million grant to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute at the Sydney Opera House this evening. The event – Celebrating Brilliance – will also showcase remarkable support for cancer research in Australia.

Among the attendees will be ACRF Medical Research Advisory Committee members Professor Doug Hilton AO, Emeritus Professor Ian Frazer AC and Professor Roger Reddel AO. The grant will be awarded by Her Excellency The Honourable Margaret Beazley AC KC.

ACRF’s $2.1M investment has the potential to result in a return of $8.19M with $5.49M in health gains and $2.7M in wider economic gains.

The Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation has also committed $300,000, over three years, for technical project personnel to drive new theranostic ovarian cancer treatments.

It’s fitting for the ACRF Centre for Precision Medicine to reside at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute given the late Olivia Newton-John’s tireless quest to improve cancer treatment amid her ongoing journey with the disease.