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Research Strategy

Our research strategy is patient-centric, designed to put people living with brain cancer first and get new treatments to them faster.

Patient centric research

Our strategy 

Cure Brain Cancer’s research strategy is designed to get new treatments to patients faster by funding across the entire research pathway and ensuring every person diagnosed with brain cancer in Australia has access to a quality clinical trial.

We know that existing treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy do not work for most people and survival rates for brain cancer haven’t improved for 30 years. Developing and testing novel and innovative treatments is the only way to change this and give hope of a better prognosis to people living with brain cancer.

Cure Brain Cancer is unique because we consider the entire research pathway. Read more about our research programs and projects we fund.  

We are working to create access to clinical trials for both adults and children in Australia, to improve survival rates but also to reduce the harm of current treatment options, thus improving quality of life. We also fund basic and translational research, as this is the foundation upon which therapeutic discovery can occur. 

Our Head of Research, Michelle Stewart, outlines Cure Brain Cancer's research strategy:

How we are achieving this 

1. Personalised medicine & innovative trial design

Rather than taking a ‘one size fits all’ approach to treatment we can now personalise treatments to patients’ individual tumour profiles, delivering a far more effective therapeutic approach. 

Biomarkers are molecules that can be tested for in a person's tissues or body fluids and answer important questions about their cancer. In the future, they could even help doctors diagnose brain cancer and work out what the best treatment for each person is. We support research that develops on existing biomarker knowledge and identifies additional markers in brain cancer, to support the development of personalised therapies.  

  

We are supporting innovative trial design that takes a personalised medicine approach and enables researchers to identify the right drug for the right patient and make decisions faster about what treatments work.

The traditional research pathway involves changing one variable at a time and tests one treatment on multiple participants. This takes time, hence it can take up to 12 years to get an experimental drug to market. 

In these newer, innovative trials, participants are randomly assigned experimental treatments based on their genetic profiles, but rather than those variables remaining the same for the entire lifetime of the trial, irrespective of efficacy, in an adaptive trial model patients are resassigned different treatments based on what is working for them. This compresses the research timeline and delivers results faster, as well as enabling the development of personalised therapies, tailored to individuals. 

Furthermore, there are treatments already being used on other diseases that may be suitable for brain cancer. Subsidising innovative trials like this will encourage pharmaceutical companies to test such treatments on brain cancer, saving years of development time.

2. Collaboration & borderless research 

Cure Brain Cancer global collaboration 

We believe that brain cancer research needs to be borderless. By collaborating both nationally and internationally we can deliver results faster. We prize collective brainpower and support the implementation of a global, multi-disciplinary research community.

We encourage collaboration between brain cancer research groups and across specialities, including oncology, nanotechnology, genomics, and bioinformatics. Working with our partners, we are setting a global research agenda to enable the sharing of resources, reduce unnecessary duplication, and deliver increased research efficiency.

We help fund the Brain Cancer Discovery Collaborative, a network of Australian researchers working together to raise awareness, ‘target the gaps’, share knowledge, capacity and resources.  

Brain cancer has many sub-types, so international collaboration is vital to achieve statistically significant research findings faster by enabling global access to trial participants. Australia is punching above its weight when it comes to brain cancer research and has much to offer the global research community.

3. Grants

We fund priority-driven research through a combination of competitive research grants and by proactively identifying promising research and critical knowledge gaps that do not fit into traditional funding mechanisms. 

Learn more about some of the projects we help fund and hear from the researchers working on them:  

 

We will support researchers from successful application to implementation, and enable translation of basic scientific findings into therapeutic interventions for patients. Through the Cure Brain Cancer application process we aim to provide funding for the projects with the greatest potential impact for patients.

Grant applications are assessed by our internationally-renowned Scientific Advisory Committee, which decides on research projects that will deliver that greatest impact to people with brain cancer. The Committee can make decisions about research in an international context and provide a transparent, impartial platform for decision-making which ensures good governance and safeguards best practice in research funding. 

Download our Research Vision: Putting Patients First