Discovery Award for lung cancer researcher

Discovery Award for lung cancer researcher

Illuminate newsletter index page, December 2018
December 2018


(L-R) Dr Sarah Best with Professor Sheena Reilly, who
presented Sarah with the Griffith University Discovery Award
at the Research Australia Health and Medical Awards.

Dr Sarah Best has received the Research Australia Griffith University Discovery Award for research that could change the way we diagnose and treat an aggressive form of lung cancer called adenocarcinoma.

Adenocarcinoma accounts for 40 per cent of all lung cancers and occurs more frequently in non-smokers, females and young people than other types of lung cancers.

Dr Best and her team discovered that a ‘metabolic signature’ is released by these cancers into the bloodstream. This signature could help to increase the chances of early detection, and identify the cancers that will respond best to immunotherapy.

Victorian Cancer Agency Grant recipients

Dr Kate Sutherland, who leads a laboratory group that includes Dr Best, has also been recognised for pioneering work in lung cancer research. Dr Sutherland is aiming to understand how defects in DNA can result in the development of lung tumours.

Dr Sutherland recently received a Victorian Cancer Agency (VCA) Mid-Career Research fellowship to progress important work on defects in the gene KEAP1 and the development and design of clinical trials for new therapies that target KEAP1-mutant lung cancers.

Dr Jai Rautela also received support from the VCA with an Early Career Seed Grant for immunotherapy research into how the immune system can ‘seek and destroy’ cancer cells.

Dr Rautela’s work is focussed on the aptly named ‘natural killer’ (NK) immune cell type. The precise molecular mechanisms by which NK cells target and kill cancer cells are largely unknown and are a key driver of Dr Rautela’s studies.

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