A QIMR Berghofer scientist has been awarded a fellowship to try to find new and better ways of treating leukaemia in older patients.
Associate Professor Steven Lane has been awarded one of biotherapeutics company CSL’s first two Centenary Fellowships, totalling $1.25 million over five years.
Associate Professor Lane said his research team would use the funding to try to develop personalised leukaemia treatments to reduce the rates of relapse in older patients.
“Today, 85 per cent of children with leukaemia can be cured, but the outlook for patients over the age of 60 is bleak, with only 10 per cent surviving their disease,” Associate Professor Lane said.
“The reason for this is that in older patients the cancer adapts to become resistant to treatment with chemotherapy.”
Associate Professor Lane has developed a model to rapidly profile the genetics of different types of leukaemia and model them in the lab, allowing him to map the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatments against the genomes of individual cancers.
“This fellowship will help me and my team to tailor treatments to individual patients,” he said.
“We plan to use this funding to identify new drug targets and to test whether we can use existing drugs to treat resistant types of leukaemia.
“I am tremendously grateful to CSL for supporting this cutting-edge research. I hope that their generous support will help us to improve treatment options and life expectancy for older patients with leukaemia.”
CSL’s CEO and Managing Director Paul Perreault said the company had established the fellowships to foster excellence in medical research by supporting scientists to pursue world-class research in Australia.
“Australian research punches above its weight on the world stage with an excellent track record in new discoveries to potentially address the world’s unmet medical needs,” said Mr Perreault.
“At CSL, we are driven by our promise to save lives and protect the health of people around the world.
“We’re extremely proud to support research that holds the potential to save and change many lives.
“Our Centenary Fellowships honour CSL’s long legacy of contributing to innovative medicines, particularly for patients suffering serious diseases.”