Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer and WEHI launch The Brain Cancer Centre

25 October 2021
Key Researchers
Laboratory Head
Large group of researchers in lab coats and beanies, standing and smiling at camera
Associate Professor Misty Jenkins (second from left)
and her team will use cutting-edge technology to
better apply immunotherapy to brain cancers.
Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer and WEHI have partnered to establish The Brain Cancer Centre, announced today.

The Brain Cancer Centre will bring together Australia’s brightest medical research minds to end brain cancer as a terminal illness, and will be led by WEHI.

The Centre has been established with an initial commitment of $40 million, which includes a foundational gift from Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer, made possible thanks to the generosity of its donors and supporters. The remaining funding includes a $16 million commitment from the Victorian Government and additional support from WEHI and partner organisations.

At a glance

  • Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer and WEHI have partnered to establish The Brain Cancer Centre, bringing together our brightest medical research minds to end brain cancer as a terminal illness.
  • The Brain Cancer Centre’s vision is to end brain cancer as a terminal illness and give real hope to patients and their families.
  • The Victorian Government will provide funding of $16 million to support the Brain-POP initiative, a patient-focused brain cancer program.

United effort to end brain cancer

The Brain Cancer Centre is the culmination of a long-term collaboration between Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer and WEHI and is founded on a shared vision to end brain cancer as a terminal illness.

It will bring together the brightest brain cancer researchers from partner organisations in the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct and around Australia to collaborate and translate their research discoveries into new treatments.

WEHI Director and Head of The Brain Cancer Centre, Professor Doug Hilton AO, said improving outcomes for children and adults with brain cancer required a sustained, coordinated and long-term commitment to collaborative research and discovery.

“The Brain Cancer Centre will provide the increased momentum and collaboration needed to take our vision of ending brain cancer as a terminal illness and make it a reality.

“It will enable us to attract the best new talent and build our local capabilities in brain cancer research and translation, and to develop new treatments that will be more effective with fewer side effects, improving quality of life,” he said.

“By combining the scientific knowledge and clinical expertise of Australia’s top brain cancer researchers, and training the next generation of leading brain cancer researchers, the Centre will have the best chance of making the long-term and transformative discoveries that will have a real impact on brain cancer patients, now and in the future.”

Shared vision comes to life

When Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer founder, Carrie Bickmore OAM, started her fundraising mission in 2015, her vision was to raise awareness and much needed funding for vital brain cancer research. Brain cancer survival rates have barely changed in 30 years and the only way to impact those devastating statistics is through more funding for vital research.

The Brain Cancer Centre, founded by Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer and established in partnership with WEHI, is the culmination of a shared vision to end brain cancer as a terminal illness.

Ms Bickmore said she was excited to see The Brain Cancer Centre brought to life after years of fundraising efforts.

“Establishing The Brain Cancer Centre is only possible because of the generosity of Australians who supported Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer and bought a beanie, held a fundraiser or donated.

“We want to see a day come when no family has to lose someone they love to brain cancer. We want to make sure that every Australian diagnosed with brain cancer will have access to the best treatments and be given real hope for a positive outcome.

“I truly believe that together we can achieve that,” she said.

Improving patient outcomes

The Victorian Government has committed $16 million in funding to support Brain-POP (brain perioperative clinical trial program). The clinical trial program will deliver innovative, perioperative clinical trials with paediatric, adolescent and adult patients that will help researchers to create a holistic picture of brain cancer treatment that has so far been missing from research.

Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, The Hon. Jaala Pulford MP, said the Victorian Government investment would be used to run the trial over the next four years and deliver a globally unique program that is set to save the lives of more children, adolescents and adults with primary brain cancer and brain metastases.

“We urgently need to find more effective and curative treatments for brain cancers. As a global leader in cancer care and medical research, Victoria is perfectly positioned to lead this ground-breaking work,” she said.

“We’re backing The Brain Cancer Centre and our extraordinary medical researchers to continue their amazing work in their fight against brain cancer.”

The Brain Cancer Centre will drive new collaborations, push forward with novel treatments, develop better predictors of how brain cancer develops and ultimately accelerate more effective and targeted treatments for patients.

The Brain Cancer Centre includes research collaborations between WEHI, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Monash University, the University of Queensland and the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre. The teams will concentrate their efforts on new brain cancer discoveries, diagnostics and treatments.

The Brain Cancer Centre will continue to drive outcomes in partnership with the Australian Brain Cancer Mission and Cancer Australia, and the other members of The Mission, who share our desire to achieve better outcomes for those diagnosed with brain cancer in the future.

Media inquiries

M: +61 475 751 811 
E: communityrelations@wehi.edu.au

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