ACRF Facility for Innovative Drug Discovery

  • Research Institute: Bio21

  • Amount granted: $2 million

  • Year granted: 2018

The ACRF Facility for Innovative Cancer Drug Discovery will be located at the Bio21 Institute, University of Melbourne and uses structural biology approaches to discover new cancer drugs. Structural biology is revolutionising cancer drug discovery and has played a key role in the development of very successful targeted molecular medicines including Imatinib (Gleevec) to treat myeloid leukaemia, Venetoclax for leukaemia and Gefitinib for lung cancer.

The chief investigators, Professor Michael Parker and Dr David Ascher of Bio21, Professor Rick Pearson of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Professor John Silke of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, represent some of Victoria’s major cancer research institutions.

“Structural biology holds the key to developing innovative cancer drugs by providing detailed information about the shape of molecules that are involved in cancer-causing biological signalling pathways within cells of our bodies,” Professor Parker said.

“The ACRF funding will make it possible to create a facility that houses some of the most cutting-edge structural biology instruments and technologies to cater for the cancer research community in the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct and beyond. It will provide our partners with powerful tools to develop and deliver new cancer drugs to patients,” says Professor Parker.

“ACRF is proud to be providing the ACRF Facility for Innovative Cancer Drug Discovery with state-of-the-art equipment for the identification, development and delivery of drugs for cancers in this era of personalised medicine where there is currently no therapy available or where improved treatments are required. Structure-based drug discovery offers great potential to hasten advances to improved patient outcomes” ACRF CEO Professor Ian Brown said.

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