Dr Nick Gottardo
After seeing how research transformed survival rates in leukaemia, Nick Gottardo moved into paediatric brain cancer research in the hope of replicating that success in brain cancer.
Dr Nick Gottardo, leads the Brain Tumour Program team in the Division of Children's Leukaemia and Cancer Research, along with his colleague, Dr Raelene Endersby. The team's work strives for a future where brain tumours are completely preventable and their causes well understood.
Nick conducted his PhD in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. During his work in leukaemia Nick was impressed with the research that had turned an essentially fatal disease into a disease with an 80% chance of survival. This motivated Nick to move into brain cancer and help lead research that will change the low survival statistics for this disease.
Nick decided to continue his training at St Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, one of the world's premier childhood cancer institutes. He spent three years at St Jude and gained additional experience in the lab as a post-doctoral brain tumour fellow as well as experience in the clinic, before returning to Perth as a dual trained clinician/scientist.
One of the laboratory’s areas of expertise is in generating sophisticated laboratory models using brain cancer cells obtained from patients at the time of surgery. The models closely mimic the characteristics and behaviour of tumours in children and provide the ideal platform on which to test new therapies. The team searches for 'vulnerabilities' in the tumours and use models to test new drugs that target these. The project will harness the power of robotic high-throughput drug screening (technology that allows rationally screening of thousands of drugs, in an unbiased manner) and innovative models of childhood brain tumours to robustly test the efficacy of newly identified drugs, in order to select the treatments that are most likely to be successful in clinical trials.
Read more about Nick's work.
Nick hopes this project will identify several drugs that have anti-tumour activity on brain tumour cells and through combining new drugs with each other and with conventional chemotherapy will kill brain tumour cells more effectively, improving cure rates and potentially allowing a reduction in the dose of the more toxic components of current therapy.
WATCH OUR VIDEO 'MEET THE RESEARCHERS' TO FIND OUT MORE