$2.5M to fast-track breast cancer discoveries to the clinic
A new collaborative centre seeking to fast-track promising new discoveries in breast cancer to the clinic has been established with a $2.5 million grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC), announced today by Federal Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek.
The Australian Centre for Translational Breast Cancer Research (TransBCR), which has been funded for five years through the NHMRC Centres of Research Excellence program, will carry out early-phase clinical trials of novel anti-breast cancer drugs and use ‘personalised medicine’ to identify and select the best therapy for breast cancer patients based on their individual cancer type.
Professor Geoff Lindeman from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and The Royal Melbourne Hospital will lead TransBCR’s research program.
Professor Lindeman, joint head of the ACRF Stem Cells and Cancer division, said he was delighted that the federal government had invested in translating breast cancer research from the bench to the bedside, to help the more than 13,700 Australians diagnosed with breast cancer each year, and 2800 women who die from the disease.
“Our goal is to help create a swift delivery system for cost-effective, personalised medicine for Australian breast cancer patients,” Professor Lindeman said. “In Australia, one in nine women will develop breast cancer by the age of 85, but the types of breast cancer that they will develop varies greatly. We need to continue to find new treatments and methods of identifying the best treatment for each individual patient, based on their particular cancer type, and this new collaboration will go a long way to helping us realise that.”
The Australian Centre for Translational Breast Cancer Research will focus on three themes: undertaking early clinical trials to accelerate the evaluation of promising new breast cancer treatments; collecting clinical trial samples to help identify new cancer cell markers that will help to predict a patient’s prognosis and alter their treatment in ‘real-time’; and economic modelling to inform the cost-effectiveness of breast cancer therapies in Australia.
“Our aim is to help bridge the current gap between world-class Australian research discoveries and their timely clinical application for breast cancer patients,” Professor Lindeman said. “TransBCR will benefit laboratory research and clinical care, as well as assist in training and mentoring the next generation of clinicians and clinical researchers to help Australia maintain its international reputation in breast cancer research.”
The Australian Centre for Translational Breast Cancer Research is a partnership between a number of Australian research institutes and hospitals including, in Melbourne, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Royal Women’s Hospital, and University of Melbourne. In Sydney, these include The Kinghorn Cancer Centre at the Garvan Institute, Lifehouse at Royal Prince Alfred/Sydney Cancer Centre, the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre and Sydney Catalyst.
The centre will exploit research coming out of the newly established Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre and Kinghorn Cancer Centre/Garvan Institute, in collaboration with Cancer Trials Australia and the ANZ Breast Cancer Trials Group.
Funding for the centre will commence in 2012.
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