We are having real impact. In the last year, we funded the biggest research push in Australian history with more than 62 cents in every dollar donated going directly into world-class brain cancer research, advocacy, and awareness.
With the help of our supporters, Cure Brain Cancer Foundation has also made, and continues to make, significant improvements to a system that has failed to increase brain cancer survival in more than 30 years. This would not have been possible by funding research alone.
This investment in advocacy and awareness has resulted in the creation of the Australian Brain Cancer Mission - a Government-backed $100 million national plan to double brain cancer survival in ten years. This is a significant return on our donors’ money, and Australia now leads a consolidated global effort to beat brain cancer.
We have also invested more than $13 million into quality, world-class research over the last five years to provide Australians with access to quality treatments as soon as they are available anywhere in the world.
Every day, five Australians are diagnosed with brain cancer. For those people, months, even weeks, can mean the difference between life and death. We owe it to them to devote all resources necessary to find a cure as fast as possible.
Whether that’s lobbying government, encouraging pharmaceutical companies to focus on brain cancer, funding international research collaborations, or backing fundraising campaigns to generate more funds for research, we must do it, if it will lead to increased survival.
Brain cancer has gone from being a forgotten cancer to a national priority and there is now a Government-backed plan to rapidly beat brain cancer. We must now work together as a team to ensure it succeeds, rather than competing.
We must unite with one strong voice and continue to volunteer raise funds, advocate, and increase awareness, so we can rapidly improve survival outcomes for Australians with brain cancer.
Here are some of the research projects we have funded, and continue to fund:
GBM AGILE: Adaptive Global Innovative Learning Environment - $1,176,182
Lead: Dr Anna Barker, Arizona State University, USA (2015)
GBM AGILE is a revolutionary new clinical trial which presents a brand new way of testing and developing brain cancer treatments; a world-first global adaptive clinical trial brought about by the biggest collaboration in the history of brain cancer research.
Zero Childhood Cancer: a personalised medicine program - $1,315,000
Lead: Prof Michelle Haber, Children's Cancer Institute Australia, NSW (2015 - Present)
Zero Childhood Cancer is a personalised medicine and clinical trial program for children, where researchers and clinicians will conduct detailed laboratory analysis of each child’s unique cancer cells, to help identify the drugs most likely to kill their cancer.
VERTU - Veliparib, radiotherapy and temozolomide clinical trial in newly diagnosed unmethylated MGMT glioblastoma - $498,775
Lead: A/Pro Mustafa Khasraw, NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney, NSW (2014 - Present)
A clinical trial investigating whether adding a new drug Veliparib to radiotherapy and chemotherapy in patients with unmethylated MGMT glioblastoma makes the treatment more effective.
A phase 1 and biodistribution study of KB004 (an anti-EphA3 antibody) in patients with glioblastoma - $500,000
Dr Hui Gan, La Trobe University, VIC (2014 - Present)
A phase 1 clinical trial of a new antibody, KB004, that targets EphA3, which is a cancer protein that makes GBM aggressive and treatment resistant.
Discovery Funds supports basic research, which is the foundation of all medical research.
“Basic research is the foundation on which therapeutic discovery can occur. It is vital to continue funding this scientific work, as this is where the more effective treatments of the future start from.”
- Michelle Stewart, Chief Executive Officer
Projects we fund in this program include:
Targeting the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor in High-Grade Glioma - $200,000
Lead: Prof Terry Johns, Hudson Institute of Medical Research, VIC (2014 - 2016)
EGFR is a protein which is mutated in the majority of high-grade gliomas. The team are investigating resistance to EGFR-targetted therapeutics and ways to overcome this.
Understanding how epigentic abnormalities lead to brain cancer - $200,000
Lead: Dr Lee Wong, Monash University, VIC (2014 - 2016)
A project investigating how the epigenetic changes which result from ATRX/histone H3.3 mutations will aid the development of targeted therapies for brain tumours.
The Cure Brain Cancer Biomarker Discovery Program brings together biomarker research that is being conducted across the country. Biomarkers are increasingly demonstrating value in cancer detection, diagnosis, prognosis, selection of therapy and prediction of treatment response, dosage, identification of disease relapse and recurrence, surrogate endpoints for clinical trials and the development of drug targets. The Biomarker Discovery Program covers the entire pipeline, from basic research to translational, and integration and use of biomarkers in clinical trials.
Projects we fund in this area include:
Circulating MicroRNA as a biomarker in brain cancer - $199,724
Lead: Dr Andrew Morokoff, University of Melbourne, VIC (2014 - 2016)
Developing microRNA detection in blood as a simple, rapid, cheap and accurate biomarker for brain cancer diagnosis and prediction.
Developing novel, EphA2 targeted PET molecular imaging tecnology for glioma - $199,738
Lead: Dr Simon Puttick, The University of Queensland, QLD (2014 - 2016)
The team aims to deliver a novel diagnostic strategy for glioma that, in addition to providing a unique solution to treatment planning, will inform the rational design of targeted therapies.
Cure Brain Cancer Neuro-oncology Group: Head of Biomarker and Translational Research - $4,053,712
Lead: A/Prof Kerrie McDonald, University of New South Wales, NSW (2009 - present)
The Cure Brain Cancer Neuro-oncology Group is based at the Lowy Cancer Research Centre at UNSW and focuses on precision medicine. It is also part of the Brain Cancer Discovery Collaborative.
Exceptional response to Avastin will lead to the identification of pre-selection biomarkers for use in patients with glioblastoma - $126,500
Lead: A/Prof Kerrie McDonald, University of New South Wales, NSW (2014 - 2016)
This project is part of the Cure Brain Cancer Neuro-oncology Group and will study exceptional responders to Avastin to identify biomarkers to predict which patients will respond to the drug.
Genomics research for medulloblastoma and glioblastoma -$150,000
Lead: Prof Brandon Wainwright, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, QLD (2014 - present)
Professor Brandon Wainwright's laboratory is currently pursuing studies of primary brain tumours in children and is embarking on the use of “genomic technology” to understand brain tumours that occur in adults such as glioblastoma.
Understanding cellular pathways to identify and develop new strategies for treating High Grade Glioma - $1,588,333
Lead: Prof Terry Johns, Monash University, VIC (2013 - 2016)
Understanding the various cellular pathways that allow tumours to survive and grow will allow us to develop effective strategies for treating patients with brain cancer. This is part of the work of the Brain Cancer Discovery Collaborative.
Developing innovative molecular imaging technologies - $425,000
Lead: A/Prof Stephen Rose, The University of Queensland, QLD (2013 - 2016)
Developing new quantitative biomarkers of early treatment response in HGG, based on an imaging technology called positron emission tomography (PET) using the tracer FDOPA (3,4-dihydroxy-6-[18F]-fluoro-L-phenylalanine). We will use this technology to better understand and define tumour metabolism. This is part of the work of the Brain Cancer Discovery Collaborative.
The process of cell invasion - $350,000
Lead: A/Prof Geraldine O'Neill, Kids Research Institute at Westmead, NSW (2013 - 2016)
Understanding invasion by glioblastoma, the most common malignant primary brain cancer in adults, is the first step towards new specific treatments with fewer side effects. This is part of the work of the Brain Cancer Discovery Collaborative.
Immunotherapy harnesses the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. It is a growing field in cancer research and has shown some promising results, including in other cancers such a melanoma. Cure Brain Cancer’s Immunotherapy in Action program seeks to grow and support the immunotherapy field in brain cancer from basic research, translational research through to clinical trials.
Overcoming resistance to antibody-drug conjugates in glioblastoma patients - $199,233
Lead: Prof Andrew Scott, La Trobe University, VIC (2014 - 2016)
Investigating the mechanisms of resistance to antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), a group of drugs which have shown highly encouraging efficacy in GBM; this research is particularly important since the ADC ABT-414 is undergoing accelerated testing for GBM patients.
Immunotherapy centre of excellence NSW - $250,000
Lead: Dr Viive Howell, Royal North Shore Hospital, University of Sydney (2015)
Based at the Kolling Institute at the Royal North Shore Hospital, this emerging brain cancer immunotherapy clinical trials expertise will give people living with brain cancer access to potential new treatments. Beginning with a 6 month pilot phase.
Kynurenine Pathway project - $125,000
Lead: Dr Seray Adams, Macquarie University, NSW (2014 - 2015)
One metabolic pathway which impairs the immune system in brain cancer patients is the kynurenine pathway. The team are investigating novel therapeutics that target this pathway to restore normal immune system function.
Microglia targeting in GBM - $30,000
Lead: Prof Manuel Graeber, The University of Sydney, NSW (2014 - 2015)
This project aims to develop and refine technology to send genetically enhanced microglia (the brain’s resident immune cells) into diseased brains to directly target glioblastoma multiforme cells.
Cure Brain Cancer’s Paediatric Research Program covers all stages of research from basic to translational research and clinical trials in all areas of research, including precision medicine. Paediatric research includes work on paediatric-specific tumour types and research that is applicable to paediatric forms of brain cancer more broadly.
Novel targeted chemotherapeutic agents against diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) - $160,000
Lead: Dr Maria Tsoli & Dr David Ziegler, Children's Cancer Institute Australia, NSW (2014 - 2017)
This research team have used a robotic technology to screen over 3,500 biologically active, clinically approved, pharmaceutical compounds to test their ability to inhibit DIPG cell growth.
Paediatric research from bench to bed - $483,333
Lead: Dr Nick Gottardo, Telethon Kids Research Institute, WA (2013 - 2016)
Dr Nick Gottardo's team is identifying new therapies to be tested in clinical trials by using high-throughput robotics to screen thousands of drugs. This is part of the work of the Brain Cancer Discovery Collaborative. Read more about paediatric research within the BCDC here.
Pharmacological inhibition of MCL-1 and BCL-xL to treat human medulloblastoma - $200,000
Lead: Prof Andreas Strasser, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, VIC (2014)
The team aim to develop novel strategies to efficiently kill medulloblastoma cells without causing intolerable damage to healthy tissues, by utilising recently developed BH3-mimetic drugs that directly activate the cell death pathway.
Brilliant Minds is Cure Brain Cancer Foundation’s young researcher support and communications program. It is designed to encourage cross-disciplinary movement into brain cancer research and grow and support brilliant minds early in their careers.
Brilliant Minds communications program
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Brilliant Minds Career Fellowships
We are committed to encouraging Brilliant Minds into brain cancer research and want to attract the best and brightest to work in one of the most challenging areas of research. Australia has a truly collaborative network of brain cancer laboratories and is poised to create significant impact in the area. We will support excellent talent to be a part of this movement.
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