FUNDING BOOST for cancer research projects
Cancer Council Victoria (CCV) has announced $3 million in funding to 11 high-quality research projects into the treatment, causes, detection and prevention of all cancers.
The funding comes from CCV’s Grantsin- Aid program, with the non-for-profit charity the largest non-government funder of cancer research in Victoria.
Long-term immune control of clinically invisible melanoma, is one of the chosen projects and is exploring how a particular type of immune cell can be harnessed (termed tissue-resident memory T cells) to generate long-term benefit in the treatment of melanoma.
The study will expand on existing cancer therapies that use the body’s immune defense; to date, the mechanisms responsible for long-term benefit from these therapies remain elusive, something that this research project aims to unlock.
Associate Professor Thomas Gebhardt from the University of Melbourne said the research will be important for the development and improvement of innovative cancer therapies for melanoma, but also other cancers too.
“We found that tissue-resident memory T cell are important for maintaining long-term control of clinically invisible melanoma cells. Now we will test ways to enhance the function of these immune cells to bolster melanoma control and potentially drive complete eradication of persisting cancer cells.”
Other successful Grants-in-Aid projects include: a study into antibody drug conjugates (ADCs), which will guide the development of new treatments for patients with aggressive brain cancer; a possible new vaccine for oral and oesophageal cancers developed by triggering the immune system to protect against cancer cells.
A research project is also exploring differentiation loss – the molecular events that cause colorectal cancer cells to change shape and spread around the body – and whether the loss of two proteins drives this process; the project will aim to identify new treatments which can reverse this process.
CCV chief executive officer Todd Harper said more than $50 million in grants had been awarded by CCV to external researchers over the past decade.
“This has led to tangible breakthroughs for everyone affected by cancer. The projects announced are varied in their tactics, however they all have the potential to significantly impact how we detect and treat different forms of cancer,” Mr Harper said.
“Leading scientists from Victoria’s cancer and medical research bodies helped to identify these high-quality research projects, which are entirely donor funded and highlight just how important our supporters are in helping us work towards the next cancer breakthrough.
“As the largest non-government funder of cancer research in Victoria, we have been awarding fellowships and grants to the very best and brightest cancer researchers for more than 60 years, and we are proud to be awarding 11 more grants to similarly highly-regarded researchers.”