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Funding boost for cancer researchers

Australian cancer researchers will receive a substantial boost from $2.9 million in funding through Cancer Australia’s Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme (PdCCRS) to investigate children’s brain cancer, breast cancer, melanoma and lymphoma, and other important areas of cancer research.

The Australian Government, through Cancer Australia, will invest $2 million, with funding partners contributing $0.9million, to fund 10 successful grant applications as part of the 2020 PdCCRS funding round. >PdCCRS funding partners are Australian Lions Childhood Cancer Research Foundation, Cure Cancer, Leukaemia Foundation, My Room, and the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said these PdCCRS grants will support world leading research and demonstrate the Government’s sustained commitment to cancer control.

“Research is essential to improving outcomes for all Australians affected by cancer. Since its inception in 2007, 432 grants totalling $153 million have been funded through this scheme,” said Minister Hunt.

Successful applicants and their projects are:

  • Paul Beavis, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, University of Melbourne Augmenting CXCR3 ligand production to enhance the trafficking of T cells in solid cancers
  • Jessica Buck, Jessica, Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia Exploiting and enhancing brain-resident immune cells for the treatment of paediatric brainstem glioma (DIPG)
  • Pouya Faridi, Monash University Novel targets for paediatric brain tumour immunotherapy
  • Louisa Gordon, QIMR Berghofer, The Council of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research  The harms and benefits of sun exposure: striking the right balance
  • Kylie Gorringe, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, University of Melbourne A combined immuno-molecular biomarker for early breast disease
  • Shuai Li, University of Melbourne Comprehensively identifying causal risk factors for breast cancer with applications of contemporary causation assessment methods to inform prevention and risk prediction
  • Kyohei Nakamura, QIMR Berghofer, The Council of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research  Overcoming immunosuppression in B-cell lymphoma
  • Jessamy Tiffen, Centenary Institute, University of Sydney Unleashing the Immune Response Against Melanoma by Targeting a Crucial Epigenetic AxB
  • Kate Vandyke, University of Adelaide CCR1 as a key therapeutic target in the prevention of drug resistance and relapse in multiple myeloma
  • Hannah Wardill, University of Adelaide Developing first translational model of paediatric GvHD to evaluate prophylactic efficacy of faecal microbiota transplantation

The funding includes $198,000 for Dr Pouya Faradi at Monash University whose funded project will investigate novel targets for paediatric brain tumour immunotherapy. Tragically, there is no cure or treatment for certain types of paediatric brain tumours. In recent years, immunotherapy has brought hope for the treatment of incurable cancer. However, understanding the right target for immunotherapy is critical and challenging. Dr Faradi has developed new technologies and will use them to discover and validate novel targets for the treatment of incurable paediatric brain tumours.

Cancer Australia CEO Professor Dorothy Keefe said the PdCCRS was a vital scheme as it brings together government and non-government organisations to coordinate and maximise funding of cancer research at a national level.

“The scheme fosters collaboration between cancer researchers to build Australia’s cancer research capacity and is designed to support cancer research that will have a direct impact on clinical practice, policy and patient outcomes,” said Professor Keefe.

The PdCCRS is an annual national research grants scheme conducted by Cancer Australia in collaboration with The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Further details of successful grant applications in the 2020 round of Cancer Australia’s PdCCRS can be found on the Cancer Australia website.