Innovative cancer projects receive NHMRC funding
Two projects led by Professor Sean Grimmond and Associate Professor Frederic Hollande of the University of Melbourne Centre for Cancer Research (UMCCR) and Department of Clinical Pathology have received over $1.6 million in funding, over three and four years respectively, through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
Professor Sean Grimmond, Director of the UMCCR and lead of the Precision Oncology group, will lead a project ‘Dissecting the mutational landscapes and cellular ecosystems of pancreatic cancer’. The project will explore cancer genome mutations contributing to the development of Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma.
Associate Professor Frédéric Hollande, the lead of the Tumour Heterogeneity in Metastatic Cancer group, will lead a project ‘Characterising mechanisms that underpin drug tolerance and treatment resistance in colorectal cancer metastases’. The project will provide fresh insights into the mechanisms behind post-treatment metastatic tumour recurrence to develop and identify more effective targeted therapies.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor James McClusky, extended his congratulations and appreciation to the staff contributing to the 75 grants awarded to the University of Melbourne.
“The NHMRC invests in the highest quality health and medical research, and the latest round of funding underpins the universities ability to enrich and transform lives through our world-class research,” Professor McClusky said.
A total of 682 projects were announced today by Minister for Health, The Hon Greg Hunt MP, receiving over $500 million in research funding. This includes $86 million for cancer research, including cancers where treatment options are limited and early detection is critical.
Minister Hunt said: “Projects announced today support cutting-edge ideas from researchers at all careers stages and included research on vaccine development and tackling antimicrobial resistance. These grants will support our health and medical research workforce, providing greater opportunities for more life-changing medical breakthroughs.”
Dissecting the mutational landscapes and cellular ecosystems of pancreatic cancer | Professor Sean Grimmond
Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma (PAAD) is currently the 4th leading cause of cancer death in Western countries and is projected to become the 2nd leading cause within a decade. There is an urgent need to better understand pancreatic cancer to improve patient selection for current treatments, and to develop novel therapeutic strategies. This project will expand the PAAD mutational atlas of 1500 cancer genomes, identify and the mutational mechanisms that contribute to the formation of PAAD, and use single-cell sequencing approaches to define the cellular composition and their cell-specific activities during PAAD progression.
Characterising mechanisms that underpin drug tolerance and treatment resistance in colorectal cancer metastases | Associate Professor Frédéric Hollande
Colorectal cancer is one of the most common and lethal tumours worldwide. The ultimate cause of patient fatality are metastases forming in vital organs such as the liver, recurring after treatment with the capability of resisting or adapting to drug treatment. This project will provide fresh insight into the mechanisms behind post-treatment metastatic tumour recurrence, laying the path for identifying biomarkers to predict drug response patterns, and for developing targeted therapies to be combined with existing drugs. The ability to personalise patient treatment and prevent post-treatment recurrence would dramatically improve patient survival.