HMRI and Ramaciotti provide high-tech cancer device

Sep 6 2012

The University of Newcastle has taken delivery of a vital piece of medical research equipment that allows cancer researchers to rapidly translate research from the bench to the bedside.

The new NanoPro 1000 will allow researchers in the Hunter Cancer Research Alliance* to analyse very small biopsy samples, allowing the discovery of novel biomarkers and specific protein changes found in cancer cells. The results will be used to improve the effectiveness of current treatments.

The Ramaciotti Foundation and Hunter Medical Research Institute funded the NanoPro 1000 and the University of Newcastle has employed a dedicated technical officer.

The machine has been installed in the University’s School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy laboratories and will be used by research teams investigating cancers including melanoma, breast cancer and leukaemia.

Lead cancer researchers Dr Rick Thorne and Professor Hubert Hondermarck said as the first Australian recipient of the machine, the University of Newcastle was positioned to be a state and national leader for using the technology in cancer research.

“We are now analysing the disease in molecular terms and future progress will rest with our ability to understand cancer both at the genetic and protein level,” Dr Thorne said.

“For the first time in Australia, this machine will allow an analysis of changes in small clinical biopsy samples at the protein level, providing information that we can feed directly back to the clinic to develop long-term cancer treatment strategies.

“This technology will also allow us to monitor how different drugs affect tumours, and provide information for use in the development of new targeted treatments. Our aim is to lessen the devastating effects for sufferers of cancer.

“We are very fortunate to have the NanoPro 1000 in Newcastle and are excited about collaborating with our colleagues across NSW and Australia in this important field of research.”

* The Hunter Cancer Research Alliance incorporates the HMRI Cancer Research Program, Hunter TCRU and the University of Newcastle’s Priority Research Centre for Cancer. HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.