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$8.9 million investment for cancer research

Announcement by Senator the Hon. Anne Ruston, Acting Minister for Health, Acting Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service and Cabinet.

The Morrison Government has today announced the awarding of $8.9 million for cancer research in Australia, through Cancer Australia’s Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme (PdCCRS).

The 24 new research projects funded in 2019 will focus on primary prevention of cancer, and new and more effective treatments for a broad range of cancers including:

  • Breast
  • Colorectal
  • Pancreatic
  • Head and neck
  • Prostate and melanoma including uveal melanoma
  • Endometrial
  • Lung
  • Leukaemia
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Ovarian

The projects will also continue an emphasis on priority-driven research for childhood cancers with low survival rates, including brain and sympathetic nerve cancers and sarcomas.

Acting Minister for Health, Anne Ruston said the Morrison Government’s investment was “critical in supporting the fight against some the nation’s worst diseases.”

“Our Government, through Cancer Australia, will invest $7 million,” Senator Ruston said.

“This will be supported by an additional $1.9 million from Cancer Australia’s funding partners Australian Lions Club Childhood Cancer Research Foundation, Cure Cancer, Leukaemia Foundation of Australia, My Room, National Breast Cancer Foundation, and the Kids’ Cancer Project.”

This year’s successful applications include research towards:

  • A new treatment for colorectal cancer with fewer toxic effects than traditional chemotherapy, by Associate Professor Frederic Hollande at the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre.
  • Tumour-targeting nanoparticles to deliver gene silencing drugs to treat childhood brain cancers, by Associate Professor Joshua McCarroll at the Children’s Cancer Institute
  • Identifying the causes of familial breast cancer, by Professor Ian Campbell at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.
  • Working on a surface guidance technology for the treatment of head and neck cancers that will reduce anxiety and stress in radiotherapy patients, by Professor Paul Keall at the University of Sydney.

“In my home state of South Australia, Dr Lisa Ebert at the SA Centre for Cancer Biology is hoping to develop a world-first blood test, to predict which patients would benefit from the new immunotherapy where a patient’s own immune system is directed to attack their cancer,” Senator Ruston added.

“Dr Ebert is also working on ways to enhance the use of immunotherapy to improve outcomes for lung cancer and melanoma patients.”

Six projects researching more effective treatments for childhood cancers of low survival are funded this year under the ‘Fighting Childhood Cancer’ Measure.

These include projects focusing on neuroblastoma, drug-resistant cancers, soft tissue sarcoma, medulloblastoma and osteosarcoma.

Since 2007, Cancer Australia and its Funding Partners have supported 414 research projects, with a total value of approximately $147 million.

Cancer Australia collaborated with the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in the assessment of the research grant applications.

Further details of successful grant applications in the 2019 round of Cancer Australia’s PdCCRS can be found on the Cancer Australia website.