Cure Brain Cancer Foundation will today launch its Capacity Building Program - a new initiative to rapidly increase brain cancer research capacity in Australia to more quickly find cures for the disease, which kills more than 1,200 Australians each year. The program will do so by encouraging more world-class researchers to work in brain cancer, while increasing the resources at their disposal, beginning with two new Infrastructure Grants.
Grant recipients, Dr Bryan Day from the Translational Brain Cancer Research Laboratory at the QIMR Berghofer and Dr Guillermo Gomez from the University of South Australia will each receive $400,000 over the next four years to fund their innovative and potentially lifesaving projects.
Dr Gomez’s project will use brain tumour samples extracted from patients during surgery, then grow them in the lab in organoids - healthy brain tissue models grown from genetically engineered brain cells. Working with a patient’s actual tumour, grown in organoids, which mimic human brain tissue, researchers hope to more quickly test the effectiveness of different drugs on an individual’s brain tumour.
(left to right) Prof. Stuart Pitson, Dr. Cedric Bardy, Dr. Guillermo Gomez and Prof. Michael Brown DOWNLOAD THIS IMAGE
“Cure Brain Cancer Foundation’s Infrastructure Grant will enable us to expand the organoid cancer project through the development of a platform resource for drug and genetic screening that will be the ultimate personalised treatment for brain cancer patients,” says Dr Gomez.
Meanwhile, Dr Day will focus on creating new methods of enabling researchers to quickly discover if new drugs are effective against brain tumours in brain cancer models. If successful, the project will dramatically speed up the progress of effective drug discoveries from lab models to clinical trials in people. “This grant will allow my team and I to share our resources and technical expertise with other research teams, accelerating the pace of brain cancer research Australia-wide,” says Day. “We hope these important collaborations will help us to develop new treatments for these aggressive tumours.”
Cure Brain Cancer Foundation CEO Michelle Stewart says, “To accelerate treatments to Australian patients, we need more researchers working on rapidly increasing brain cancer survival, which has barely improved in more than 30 years. That is unacceptable. The Infrastructure Grants announced today are an important step in making that happen by boosting brain cancer research capacity in Australia. “The grants will mean more world-class researchers, with greater resources, focusing on brain cancer, accelerating breakthroughs and ultimately finding a cure faster.”
The Infrastructure Grants form part of Cure Brain Cancer Foundation’s $20 million commitment to the Australian Brain Cancer Mission (ABCM) – a $100 million Government-backed plan to double brain cancer survival in ten years. Since the ABCM launched in October last year, Cure Brain Cancer Foundation has awarded $3.23 million to ABCM projects, including Infrastructure and Innovation Grants, and Early Career Fellowships.
Cure Brain Cancer Foundation has so far invested $9 million in capacity building projects and encouraged greater collaboration between researchers. The Foundation hopes the program announced today will enable it to meet its ambitious mission to increase brain cancer survival from the current 20% to 50% by 2023.
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