ACRF Centre for Advanced Cellular Immunotherapy

  • 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.”

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