$2.48m NHMRC Ideas and Development Grants awarded to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute

$2.48m NHMRC Ideas and Development Grants awarded to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute

The Minister for Health and Aged Care, Mark Butler MP, has announced outcomes of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Ideas Grants scheme, which funds researchers from discovery to implementation.

The NHMRC Ideas Grant supports innovative and creative research, funding researchers at all career stages in areas of health and medical research.

Dr Conor Kearney, Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute and the La Trobe University School of Cancer Medicine (with Dr Stephin Vervoort, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, WEHI) received a $1.2 million 2023 NHMRC Ideas Grant.

The human immune system is capable of recognising and eliminating cells that have become cancerous. Cancer Immunotherapies have revolutionized medical oncology and are now recognised as one of the core pillars of cancer treatment. Despite the success of immunotherapies, responses are limited to a subgroup of patients in particular cancer types and patients frequently relapse. This project aims to identify new druggable targets that improve current immunotherapies.

Associate Investigators on this project, include:

  • Dr Paul Beavis (Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre)
  • Dr Hamish King (The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI))
  • Assoc Prof Luciano Martelotto (The University of Adelaide)
  • Prof Ricky Johnstone (Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre)
  • Dr Bhupinder Pal (Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute)
  • Dr Rebecca Feltham (The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI))

In addition, NHMRC Development Grants were announced, which will support the translation of proof-of-concept research into commercial outcomes.

Professor Andrew Scott AM, Head of the Tumour Targeting Laboratory, Head of the ACRF Centre for Precision Medicine, and Co-Director of the Centre for Research Excellence in Brain Cancer at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute and the La Trobe School of Cancer Medicine has received a $1.27 million NHMRC Development Grant, which will fund studies for the development of a new treatment for cancer patients that is highly tumour specific and less likely to have side effects, leading to improved outcomes in cancer patients.

Investigators include:

  • Prof Hui Gan
  • Prof John Mariadason
  • Dr Laura Osellame
  • Dr Ingrid Burvenich
  • Dr Christian Wichmann


Science Meets Art Exhibition

Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute showcases the beauty in cancer research

ONJCRI Science Meets Art Exhibition aspires to involve our colleagues, patient advocates and the general community in the beauty of cancer research and inspire the next generation of budding scientists. Scientific work undertaken by our talented research staff was introduced to the community at an Exhibition held in November 2023, centered on the theme: “Beauty in Cancer Research”.

Artwork will be on display at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute reception area on Level 5 later this year. This exhibition includes the creative expression of cancer research in many forms of scientific artworks, such as microscopy images, videography, and sculpture.

Artwork was judged by two panels in 2023: academic judges from the Institute and consumer advocates; along with a people’s choice award as voted on the Exhibition launch event.

First Prize: Jean Berthelet, ‘Jack O ’Tumour’

Runner up: Luke Quigley, ‘The Tree of Life’

Consumer’s Choice: Jean Berthelet, ‘Oceanic Hues of Cellular Unity’

Consumer – Special Mention: Annalisa Carli, ‘Seal on the Rocks’

People’s Choice: Juliani, ‘When your experiment fails’

To view prints available for purchase, click here

For any other printing needs or enquiries about this Exhibition, please contact:  science.art@onjcri.org.au


$5 million NHMRC funding to progress treatment of difficult cancers

Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, and the La Trobe University School of Cancer Medicine, receive $5 million NHMRC Synergy Grant towards study aimed at eradicating the most aggressive and difficult-to-treat cancer cells, including breast, colorectal and pancreatic cancers

The Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, and the La Trobe University School of Cancer Medicine, have received a $5 million NHMRC Synergy Grant towards a study aimed at eradicating the most aggressive and difficult-to-treat cancer cells, including breast, colorectal and pancreatic cancers.

The multi-disciplinary research study, led by Associate Professor Delphine Merino from the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute and the La Trobe University School of Cancer Medicine, will explore multiple ways to target both cancer cells and the surrounding normal cells to improve patient outcomes.

It is the first time a Synergy Grant has been awarded to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute and the La Trobe University School of Cancer Medicine, and involves collaboration between the La Trobe University School of Cancer Medicine and School of Computing, Engineering, Mathematical Sciences.

NHMRC Synergy Grants support outstanding multi-disciplinary teams of researchers to work together to answer major questions that cannot be answered by a single researcher.

The collaborative project, Targeting lethal metastases: finding new targets in the tumour/microenvironment interface, also involves Professor Michael Samuel from the Centre for Cancer Biology an alliance between SA Pathology and the University of South Australia, Associate Professor Marina Pajic from The Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Professor Shalin Naik from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI), Professor Matthias Ernst and Professor Phoebe Chen from the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute / La Trobe University, and several other researchers across Australia.

Associate Professor Merino said new technologies had revealed that aggressive tumours, once spread as metastases in other areas of the body, are highly complex ecosystems where cancer cells and normal cells coexist, compete or cooperate. The way they work together is responsible for a cancer patient’s outcome.

She said the team would study the way cells and molecules drive the growth of tumours in some of the most common and deadly solid cancers – breast, colorectal and pancreatic.

“While a growing arsenal of anti-cancer drugs targeting cancer cells or normal cells, such as immune cells, is becoming available, some cancers remain difficult to treat,” Associate Professor Merino said.

“Our team will use state-of-the-art technologies to study the complex ecosystems orchestrating the spread of aggressive cancer cells into vital organs. We will then design new combination therapies to target the vulnerabilities in these cells to prevent or treat metastases.”

La Trobe University Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Industry Engagement) Professor Susan Dodds said this was one of 10 projects to receive Synergy funding, out of 50 applications nationally.

“Receiving an NHMRC Synergy Grant in a highly competitive field demonstrates the importance of collaboration and the strength of expertise in the multi-disciplinary team that has been assembled for this large program of research to solve some of the greatest issues of our time,” Professor Dodds said.

Professor Marco Herold, Chief Executive Officer of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute and Head of the La Trobe University School of Cancer Medicine, expressed the profound impact that this NHMRC Synergy Grant would have on the future of cancer research.

“This funding will enable us to secure vital resources and expertise over the next five years. Combining our efforts across Australian medical research Institutes will take cancer research to the next level to improve patient outcomes,” said Professor Herold.


World-first research breakthrough sparks new hope for bowel cancer patients

Researchers at Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute discover a new roadmap to beating bowel cancer

Researchers from the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, the La Trobe University School of Cancer Medicine, have made a world-first discovery; which will pave a new roadmap to improve outcomes for bowel cancer patients.

Every year, over 15,500 Australians are diagnosed with bowel cancer, and it is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the country. Over 1,700 (one in ten) of those diagnosed are young Australians aged under 50, and this incidence is increasing (Source: Bowel Cancer Australia)

There is an urgent need to discover more effective treatments and improve bowel cancer screening, particularly for early-onset bowel cancer (those aged 25-49 years). Australians born in 1990 onwards have double the risk of developing bowel cancer compared with those born in 1950. These younger bowel cancer patients often have poorer outcomes as they typically present with late-stage disease.

Dr Lisa Mielke explains new bowel cancer research discovery

Researchers from Mucosal Immunity and Cancer Lab involved in this new publication

Left to Right: Sonja Ghilas, Marina Yakou, Lisa Mielke, Kelly Tran

Immunotherapy is one of the most promising new treatments for cancer, which involves boosting the ability of immune cells to recognize and remove cancer cells. However, less than 10% of bowel cancer patients respond to current immunotherapies.

The results of a new study published on 6th October, 2023 (U.S ET), in the prestigious journal, Science Immunology, was led by researchers at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute. Principal Investigator and Head of the Mucosal Immunity and Cancer Laboratory at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, Dr Lisa Mielke, explained the importance of this research breakthrough.

“We have discovered that an important group of immune cells in the large bowel – gamma delta T cells – are crucial to preventing bowel cancer.”

“Gamma delta T cells act as our frontline defenders in the bowel. What makes these immune cells extraordinary is that they constantly patrol and safeguard the epithelial cells lining the bowel, acting as warriors against potential cancer threats,” said Dr Mielke.

“When we analysed bowel cancer patient samples, we found that when more gamma delta T cells were present in the tumours, these patients were reported to have better outcomes and improved survival.”

The large bowel contains trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi, collectively known as the microbiome. While some bacteria are associated with disease, others are extremely important for the immune system.

Lead co-author of this study, Marina Yakou, PhD candidate at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, described how this new research may lead to improved treatments for cancer patients in the future.

“We discovered that the amount, and diversity of, the microbiome in the large bowel resulted in a higher concentration of a molecule called TCF-1 on Gamma delta T cells compared to other areas of the gut. This molecule (TCF-1) suppresses our natural immune response, the gamma delta T cells, from fighting off bowel cancer.”

“When we deleted TCF-1 in gamma delta T cells using pre-clinical models, this fundamentally changed the behaviour of these immune cells and we saw a remarkable reduction in the size of bowel cancer tumours,” said Ms Yakou.

“Our world-first research breakthrough paves a new roadmap for developing targeted combination immunotherapies to more effectively treat bowel cancer patients.”

Representative fluorescent multiplex immunohistochemistry staining of healthy human colon.

Staining for T cells CD3 (yellow), CD8 (light blue), TCRδ (οrange), TCF-1 (green), epithelial cells (Pan-Cytokeratin (red)), and DAPI (dark blue).

This research discovery also opens up new possibilities for understanding how the microbiome and immune cells in the bowel interact, which could lead to the development of new strategies to lower bowel cancer risk and better screen for bowel cancer.

This is promising news for 36-year-old bowel cancer survivor, Elise Stapleton, who was initially diagnosed with reoccurring Endometriosis. However, in January this year, she received a shock diagnosis of Stage 3 bowel cancer.

“After waking up from my surgery to remove endometriosis, the bombshell hit. Instead of a planned keyhole surgery, surgeons told me that they had found a tumour and performed open surgery to remove ‘what they could’. I then had a second operation to remove 20-25cms of my large bowel, follow up chemotherapy in April; and I have side-effects from the surgery and treatment.”

“My life has changed dramatically. After having been through a lot in a very short amount of time this year, I’m now feeling very empowered. I want to help raise awareness with young people that bowel cancer is not just an older person’s disease and to trust your instincts – if something doesn’t seem right, then keep following it up with health professionals,” explained Elise.

“I’m hopeful that this new research may lead to more targeted immunotherapies that will result in less side effects, and hopefully even one day help to design better screening so people can be more accurately diagnosed and treated earlier.”

We would like to acknowledge contributions to this study from key co-authors at Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute: Marina Yakou, Sonia Ghilas, Kelly Tran, Dinesh Raghu.

This research study was made possible with thanks to funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Victorian Government acting through the Victorian Cancer Agency, Priority Driven Young Investigator Grant from Cure Cancer Australia Foundation, and a career recovery grant from Veski.


Multimillion-dollar boost to Victoria’s imaging capabilities

Minister for Higher Education, Gayle Tierney, joined researchers at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute to officially announce an investment of more than $14.8 million to support the upgrade and expansion of critical imaging capabilities across several research sites, through the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund.

In partnership with the Victorian Biomedical Imaging Capability (VBIC), the total investment into Victoria’s imaging capabilities equates to just over $50 million through collaborative co-investment.

This funding supports National Imaging Facility’s (NIF) network of imaging research facilities in Victoria, including the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute and La Trobe University, The Florey, Monash University, Swinburne University of Technology, and University of Melbourne in partnership with Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Austin Health.

The new and expanded imaging capabilities will ensure that Victoria remains at the forefront of drug discovery and new medical treatments by providing cutting-edge, open access infrastructure for both academia and industry.

“Collaborative projects such as this demonstrate how our government is supporting higher education and industry to become international leaders in their field,” said The Hon Gayle Tierney, Minister for Higher Education.

Critical medical research in dementia and cancer as well as agriculture research will be enabled by the co-investment, which includes $26.7 million from NIF through the Australian Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) funding scheme.

Expanded preclinical imaging capabilities at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute / La Trobe University School of Cancer Medicine, including a PET/MRI scanner, will support important drug discovery and testing of treatments before entering early phase clinical trials. In addition, upgrades to radiochemistry hot cell facilities at Austin Health will support the design and development of novel cancer treatment.

Head of the Tumour Targeting Program at Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, and Director of the Department of Molecular Imaging and Therapy at Austin Health, Professor Andrew Scott AM, expressed the profound impact that this funding would have on patients.

“This funding from the Victorian Government and the National Imaging Facility, will provide cutting-edge imaging technologies to assist with biomedical research, drug discovery and identifying disease processes in patients.”

“Through new imaging techniques we can diagnose conditions such as cancer, dementia and heart disease earlier than previously possible, which can lead to improved treatments and outcomes for patients and their families,” said Professor Andrew Scott AM.

 

Read more about the imaging capability upgrades across other Institutes in the Victorian Government’s media release.

Learn more about the National Imaging Facility


A molecule already produced in our bodies, taurine, may be the key to a longer and healthier life

A study led by Columbia University researchers, in collaboration with the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, finds that deficiency of taurine, a molecule produced in our bodies, drives aging, and taurine supplements can improve health and increase lifespan in animals

 

A deficiency of taurine—a nutrient produced in the body and found in many foods—is a driver of aging in animals, according to a new study “Taurine deficiency as a driver of aging” recently published in Science, led by Columbia University researchers.

This study involved dozens of researchers around the world, including Dr Bhupinder Pal, Head of the Cancer Single Cell Genomics Lab from the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, home to the La Trobe University School of Cancer Medicine.

“For the last 25 years, scientists have been trying to find factors that not only let us live longer, but also increase healthspan, the time we remain healthy in our old age,” says the study’s leader, Dr Vijay Yadav, PhD, assistant professor of genetics & development at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.

As we age, our cells undergo changes in cellular processes, increasing the risk of age-related diseases.

“This study suggests that taurine could be an elixir of life within us that helps us live longer and healthier lives.”

Anti-aging molecules within us

Over the past two decades, efforts to identify interventions that improve health in old age have intensified as people are living longer and scientists have learned that the aging process can be manipulated.

Many studies have found that various molecules carried through the bloodstream are associated with aging. Less certain is whether these molecules actively direct the aging process or are just passengers going along for the ride. If a molecule is a driver of aging, then restoring its youthful levels would delay aging and increase healthspan, the years we spend in good health.

Taurine first came into Dr Yadav’s view during his previous research into osteoporosis that uncovered taurine’s role in building bone. Around the same time, other researchers were finding that taurine levels correlated with immune function, obesity, and nervous system functions.

“We realized that if taurine is regulating all these processes that decline with age, maybe taurine levels in the bloodstream affect overall health and lifespan,” Dr Yadav says.

Taurine declines with age, supplementation increases lifespan in animals

First, Dr Yadav’s research team looked at levels of taurine in the bloodstream of animals and humans and found that the taurine abundance decreases substantially with age. In humans, taurine levels in 60-year-old individuals were only about one-third of those found in 5-year-olds.

“That’s when we started to ask if taurine deficiency is a driver of the aging process, and we set up a large pre-clinical experiment,” Dr Yadav says.

At the end of the experiment, Dr Yadav and his team found that taurine increased average lifespan up to 12%.

Taurine supplements in middle age improves health in old age

To learn how taurine impacted health, Dr Yadav brought in other researchers who investigated the effect of taurine supplementation on the health and lifespan in several species.

These experts measured various health parameters in mice  and found that at age 2 (60 in human years), animals supplemented with taurine for one year were healthier in almost every way than their untreated counterparts.

“Not only did we find that the animals lived longer, we also found that they’re living healthier lives,” Yadav says.

Dr Bhupinder Pal, Co-investigator from Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, explains how his research team supported Dr Yadav to understand how taurine increases healthy lifespan.

“We performed RNA sequencing to analyze taurine-deficient cells. These analyses showed that taurine-deficient cells exhibit changes in pathways involved in aging. The genes most affected by taurine deficiency are related to processes such as the immune system.”

“At a cellular level, taurine improved many functions that usually decline with age: The supplement decreased the number of “zombie cells” (old cells that usually accumulate with age should die but instead linger and release harmful substances), increased survival after telomerase deficiency, increased the number of stem cells present in some tissues (which can help tissues heal after injury), improved the performance of mitochondria, reduced DNA damage, and improved the cells‘ ability to sense nutrient,” said Dr Pal.

Randomized clinical trial needed

While the researchers do not know yet if taurine supplements will improve health or increase longevity in humans, two experiments they conducted suggest taurine has potential.

In the first, Dr Yadav and his team looked at the relationship between taurine levels and approximately 50 health parameters in 12,000 European adults aged 60 and over. Overall, people with higher taurine levels were healthier, with fewer cases of type 2 diabetes, lower obesity levels, reduced hypertension, and lower levels of inflammation. “These are associations, which do not establish causation,” Dr Yadav says, “but the results are consistent with the possibility that taurine deficiency contributes to human aging.”

The second study tested if taurine levels would respond to an intervention known to improve health: exercise. The researchers measured taurine levels before and after a variety of male athletes and sedentary individuals finished a strenuous cycling workout and found a significant increase in taurine among all groups of athletes (sprinters, endurance runners, and natural bodybuilders) and sedentary individuals.

“No matter the individual, all had increased taurine levels after exercise, which suggests that some of the health benefits of exercise may come from an increase in taurine,” Dr Yadav says.

Only a randomized clinical trial in people will determine if taurine truly has health benefits, Yadav adds. Taurine trials are currently underway for obesity, but none are designed to measure a wide range of health parameters.

Other potential anti-aging drugs—including metformin, rapamycin, and NAD analogs—are being considered for testing in clinical trials.

“I think taurine should also be considered,” Dr Yadav says. “And it has some advantages: Taurine is naturally produced in our bodies, it can be obtained naturally in the diet, it has no known toxic effects (although it’s rarely used in concentrations used ­­­), and it can be boosted by exercise.

“Taurine abundance goes down with age, so restoring taurine to a youthful level in old age may be a promising anti-aging strategy.”


Let sleeping cells die: Understanding dormant breast cancer cells

When breast cancer is diagnosed early or when the tumour is contained to the breast or nearby lymph nodes, patients have a high chance that their cancer will be curable. Nonetheless, cancer cells can spread from the breast and cause secondary tumours in organs such as bone, liver and lung in a process called metastasis. The patient can still be treated to slow cancer growth; however, currently the disease is incurable.

Metastasis in breast cancer, and a few other types of cancer such as prostate cancer, is unusual in that it can take a long time before secondary disease develops. Breast cancer cells lodged in other tissues can survive there for many years without growing, in a so-called dormant state. In roughly one out of five breast cancer patients, these dormant cells wake up and start growing, forming secondary tumours.

Professor Robin Anderson, along with Associate Professor Sarah Ellis and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Charlotte Roelofs, has received a large four-year grant from the National Health & Medical Research Council. With this grant they will investigate how these dormant cancer cells can survive in the body for so long and what drives them to wake up after many years.

Unfortunately, conventional chemotherapy does not kill dormant cancer cells because they do not actively grow.  Therefore, there is a need for new treatments that specifically target dormant cancer cells. The aim of this research is to investigate how to develop a therapy that can either prevent dormant cells from waking up, or better still, identify a therapy that can kill the dormant cancer cells altogether.

The grant will enable the research team to directly image dormant tumour cells in tissues using high-end new microscopy equipment recently installed at ONJCRI. They will also be able to isolate these dormant cells and the surrounding host cells that form the niche that enables the cancer cell to survive for years. The isolated tumour and host cells will be subjected to gene profiling to understand the mechanisms that control dormancy. These studies should lead to the identification of new genes that can be targeted with treatments to improve the outcome for cancer patients.

Breast cancer treatment has come a long way in a relatively short period of time with five-year survival rates now at 90%. Still, in Australia alone, over 3,100 women died from breast cancer in 2021. Their cause of death was nearly always metastases that grew into uncontrollable secondary tumours.

“Once we understand why some cancer cells lie dormant and how they can re-awaken, we can identify new genes to target and either keep dormant cells asleep permanently or even kill them,” explained Prof Anderson.

“The cause of death of patients who are initially diagnosed with breast cancer is nearly always metastases that grow into uncontrollable secondary tumours. Our research will be critical to improving the outcome for patients with advanced breast cancer.”

“As our Founding Champion Olivia Newton-John herself died from a very late recurrence of breast cancer, we hope she would be proud of our current research aiming to find new therapies for this disease,” she said.

This research investigates one of the last unmet clinical needs of breast cancer patients. Understanding how cancer cells become dormant, and more importantly, how dormancy is broken has the potential to improve the outcome for thousands of patients around the globe.


World-class Radiochemistry Lab to open at Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute - giving Australian cancer patients access to new therapies

Olivia Newton-John’s legacy continues to inspire with a cutting-edge radiochemistry laboratory to be established at the cancer research institute bearing the beloved entertainer’s name in Victoria.

Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) has awarded a $2.1 million grant to establish the state-of-the-art ACRF Centre for Precision Medicine at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute.

Precision oncology can benefit up to 50% of cancer patients by determining the most effective treatment based on their cancer’s profile, rather than a one size fits all approach.

The ACRF Centre for Precision Medicine will utilise a “theranostic” approach of combined imaging and treatment with novel drugs to enhance therapeutic responses and exploit new technology for tumour treatment. Theranostics is an exciting new area of cancer treatment – a form of precision medicine in which radioisotopes are combined to diagnose and treat a tumour.

For example, Lu-PSMA-617 is under consideration in Australia after recently being approved to treat prostate cancer in the US and Europe. New theranostic targets will be developed and validated at the ACRF Centre for Precision Medicine for use across several cancer types.

The radiochemistry lab at the heart of the ACRF Centre for Precision Medicine will support the supply of radiopharmaceuticals for theranostic trials – meaning Australian cancer patients can access new diagnostics and therapies as they are developed.

Chief Investigator, Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute’s Professor Andrew Scott AM, said: “Precision medicine has been described as the future for cancer treatment, whereby identifying key targets in a patient’s cancer and individualising treatments based on appropriate treatment selection can result in improved outcomes.”

“The ACRF Centre for Precision Medicine will establish a unique and exciting capability for translation of discoveries into the clinic and provide a key technology for theranostics for multi-centre clinical trials across Australia.”

“This will link outstanding researchers in cancer biology, drug development, radiochemistry and molecular imaging of cancer, leading to novel therapeutic approaches and clinical trials.”

Australian Cancer Research Foundation CEO Kerry Strydom, said ACRF is proud to enable transformative research that will be conducted at the ACRF Centre for Precision Medicine, accelerating translation of discoveries into the clinic to ensure optimal outcomes for cancer patients.

“ACRF supports innovation that leads to better ways to prevent, detect and treat all cancers. With precision medicine and theranostics, in particular, regarded as the way forward for effective cancer treatment, we anticipate lifesaving impact from the ACRF Centre for Precision Medicine,” Kerry added.

ACRF formally awarded the $2.1 million grant to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute at the Sydney Opera House on Tuesday 6th December, 2022. The event – Celebrating Brilliance – also showcased remarkable support for cancer research in Australia.

Among the attendees were ACRF Medical Research Advisory Committee members Professor Doug Hilton AO, Emeritus Professor Ian Frazer AC and Professor Roger Reddel AO. The grant was awarded by Her Excellency The Honourable Margaret Beazley AC KC.

ACRF’s $2.1M investment has the potential to result in a return of $8.19M with $5.49M in health gains and $2.7M in wider economic gains.

The Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation has also committed $300,000, over three years, for technical project personnel to drive new theranostic ovarian cancer treatments.

It’s fitting for the ACRF Centre for Precision Medicine to reside at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute given the late Olivia Newton-John’s tireless quest to improve cancer treatment amid her ongoing journey with the disease.

For further information, visit: www.acrf.com.au

About ACRF
Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) is a leading independent charity. ACRF focuses on funding the technology, equipment and infrastructure researchers need to progress the prevention, detection and treatment of all cancers.
ACRF is uniquely positioned to bring together outstanding expertise from medical research organisations across Australia and initiate pioneering cancer research programs, revolutionising outcomes for patients.
ACRF receives no government funding, relying on donations and fundraising from individuals, corporates, and community groups. Applications for grant funding are assessed by an outstanding panel of Australian and international cancer experts.

About Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute
The Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute is a leader in the development of innovative and breakthrough cancer treatments.
Based at the Austin Hospital in Melbourne, the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute’s world-class laboratories are located just metres from hospital beds, allowing researchers and clinicians to work closely together and translate scientific discoveries into clinical trials to improve treatment options for patients.
Our researchers bring observations from the clinic back to the laboratory bench to create a continual cycle of learning and improvement between scientific research and clinical applications.
Our research is primarily focused on investigating and developing treatments for cancers of gastrointestinal tract, brain, breast, lung, skin and rare cancers. We also undertake research in understudied rare cancers and proactively look for opportunities to extend our efforts to other cancers and diseases. For more information visit www.onjcri.org.au.
The Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute is part of the La Trobe University, as the La Trobe University School of Cancer Medicine.