Head of the Olivia Newton John Cancer Research Institute’s (ONJCRI) Cancer Therapeutics Development Group, Dr Ashwini Chand, along with ONJCRI Director and Head of the Cancer and Inflammation Program, Prof Matthias Ernst, have been awarded a coveted philanthropic grant to investigate new targeted therapies for colon cancer.

As successful applicants of the competitive Perpetual 2020 IMPACT grant program, Ashwini and Prof Ernst are set to further their translational research from the bench to the bedside.

Formed in 2018, the Cancer Therapeutics Development Group’s focus has been to discover pre-clinical drugs that are developed into new cancer treatments. By understanding how inflammatory cytokines contribute to the progression of colon cancers, we can find new ways of approaching the development of pre-clinical drugs that inhibit cancer growth and make the body’s immune cells more effective in killing cancer cells.

Through the generous support of the WALTER & NANCY LASCELLES MEMORIAL TRUST, The J and R McGauran Trust Fund, and the Perpetual Foundation – Eddy Dunn Endowment, the Cancer Therapeutics Development Group will be able to establish new cell-based technologies to further drug discovery efforts at ONJCRI. The funds will also enable the purchase of equipment that supports assay development and laboratory workflows. This will greatly enhance its capacity to progress our drug development programs.

“As a scientist, the ONJCRI provides a dynamic environment where I am able to translate my research discoveries into outcomes that will ultimately influence the health of patients,” says Ashwini.

“Bowel cancer is the second-most common cancer in men and women in Australia. With this generous funding, our research teams will be able to engage in further important colon cancer research specifically to develop targeted therapies for patients.”

Says Ashwini, “With the generous support of the Perpetual IMPACT scheme we will obtain a specific piece of equipment that allows us to making discoveries that will contribute to more efficient emergence of breakthrough cancer treatments. This generous funding will help us go much further.”

ONJCRI Director, Prof Ernst, says, “ONJCRI has enjoyed the generous and repeated support through the Perpetual IMPACT scheme, which is critical to the Institute’s mission to translate our discoveries at the laboratory bench into treatment that makes a difference to cancer patients.

“This support therefore not only provides us with opportunities to purchase new equipment and conduct critical experiments that we otherwise could not do, but it also gives the Institute and my colleagues a way to communicate with donors and those in philanthropy precisely what ONJCRI is continuing to do to help outsmart cancer.”

ONJCRI would like to thank the WALTER & NANCY LASCELLES MEMORIAL TRUST, The J and R McGauran Trust Fund, and the Perpetual Foundation – Eddy Dunn Endowment for their incredible support.