Research Institute: QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
Amount granted: 1.75 million
Year granted: 2017
The $1.75 million ACRF grant will allow QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute to establish the ACRF Centre for Advanced Cellular Immunotherapy and to expand its capacity to develop, trial and produce immunotherapies to treat cancers, including those treated with bone marrow transplants.
In the last decade, immunotherapy has emerged as the “fourth pillar” of cancer treatment, along with surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It works by “training” the immune system to recognise and destroy cancer cells. The field has given hope to thousands of cancer patients by successfully treating aggressive cancers like melanoma that do not respond to chemotherapy. The ACRF funding will be used to expand QIMR Berghofer’s existing cell manufacturing facility, Q-Gen Cell Therapeutics, and to buy new equipment needed to produce cellular immunotherapies.
QIMR Berghofer’s Director and CEO, Professor Frank Gannon, has thanked the ACRF for its invaluable support. “QIMR Berghofer is already at the global forefront of research into cancer immunotherapy. We are currently trialling some of the most exciting new treatments in Australia. But because of that success, demands on our facilities are growing,” Professor Gannon said.
“This extremely generous contribution will allow us to scale up production of clinical-grade immunotherapies for patients treated within clinical trials.
“But the ACRF’s support won’t only benefit QIMR Berghofer. Research organisations from across Australia and the world will be able to have clinical-grade treatments produced at our regulatory-approved facility, meaning this funding will help to advance the field of immunotherapy globally.”
What your donations have achieved
Cervical cancer vaccine
We gave initial seed funding to Professor Ian Frazer’s research into the cervical cancer (HPV). Over 150 million doses of vaccine have been delivered worldwide to date.
The pill that melts away cancer
Our long term support of cancer research at WEHI has led to a treatment that melts away certain advanced forms of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. It has been approved for clinical use in the US, European Union and Australia and is being trialled for other types of cancer.
Personalised cancer diagnosis
In 2015, we awarded $10 million seed funding to an ambitious cancer proteome project that aims to provide each cancer patient a personalised treatment plan within 36 hours. This will improve treatment outcomes and help avoid unnecessary treatments.
Zero childhood cancer
We are one of the founding partners of the initiative that will tackle the most serious cases of infant, childhood and adolescent cancer in Australia. It is a key step towards the program vision of one day helping to cure 100% of children with cancer.