Centre for Immunology

  • Research Institute: St Vincent's Hospital

  • Amount granted: $1 million

  • Year granted: 1985

A seeding grant enabling the establishment of the Centre for Immunology in Sydney.

The project was the foundation’s “flagship first grant” and signified the substantial steps that could be taken in cancer research in Australia in major infrastructure, equipment and technology.


  • Establishment of a research institute of the highest international reputation specialising in a variety of cancers including myeloma, leukaemia, bladder and ovarian.
  • Identification of novel blood-based secreted proteins which can serve as diagnostic markers for cancer.
  • Investigated the effects of non-thermal levels of electromagnetic radiation on cancer initiation.
  • Explored the chronic effect of heat shock proteins, released as a normal defence response to cellular stress, have on the induction, promotion and spread of cancer cells and/or resistance to anti-cancer drugs.
  • Human clinical trials of a p53 vaccine. Mutations in the p53 gene are involved in up to half of all cancers.
  • Investigation of the MLH1 tumour suppressor gene, including making discoveries concerning the inactivation of this gene in cancer cells.
  • First to clone cytokine MIC-1. Measurement of MIC-1 was subsequently found to be a useful diagnostic tool in cancer studies involving colon, prostate and pancreatic cancer.
  • 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.

    Help fund cancer research
  • What your donations have achieved

    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 trialed for other types of cancer.

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  • What your donations have achieved

    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.

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  • What your donations have achieved

    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.

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