$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