Cure Brain Cancer Foundation has launched 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 1200 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 QIMR Berghofer and Dr Guillermo Gomez from the Centre for Cancer Biology will each receive $400,000 over the next four years to fund their innovative and potentially lifesaving projects.
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,” said Dr Day.
“We hope these important collaborations will help us to develop new treatments for these aggressive tumours.”
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.
“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,” Dr Gomez said.
“To accelerate treatments to Australian patients, we need more researchers working on rapidly increasing brain cancer survival, which unaaceptably has barely improved in more than 30 years,” said Cure Brain Cancer Foundation’s CEO Michelle Stewart.
“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 are 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-related 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 per cent to 50 per cent by 2023.