Cancer Research

Researchers in the HMRI Cancer research program study many different types of cancers using multidisciplinary and collaborative techniques which make them a diverse and well-rounded translational research group.

Cancer is a major cause of disability and death in Australia with an estimate of 130,470 new cases of cancer diagnosed this year. It is projected that by 2020, this number will rise to 150,000. (Source – Cancer Council Australia)

Whilst 66% of people diagnosed with cancer in Australia are still alive five years after diagnosis, cancer is still the cause of 3 out every 10 deaths in Australia. (Source – Cancer Council Australia)

In partnership with the University of Newcastle’s Priority Research Centre for Cancer research and the Hunter Cancer Research Alliance, Hunter cancer researchers are well-poised to tackle this highly variable and deadly disease.

Researchers in the HMRI Cancer research program work in a number of specialised areas to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie the development of cancer and find ways to translate these findings into the clinic to improve patient outcomes. Similarly, ideas and research focuses that are generated in the clinic are fed back to laboratory and preclinical scientists who work continually to improve both the care and treatment of patients. This bi-directional approach makes Hunter cancer researchers unique and successful in their field across the nation and indeed the globe.

Research has found that at least one in three of cancer cases are preventable, highlighting the need for effective research into the causes, intervention programs and treatment options for the thousands of Australians diagnosed with cancer each year. (Source – Cancer Council Australia)

Hunter researchers can access one of the nation’s largest biobanks of cancer tissue and specimens which are catalogued and organised so that researchers from a wide variety of disciplines can research their particular focus without the need to recruit a new sample of patients and collect tissues. This is both an efficient and cost effective way to collect samples, making it an extremely valuable resource for researchers and clinicians alike.

Hunter researchers are interested in researching many different aspects and types of cancer including:

Professor Stephen Ackland | Co-Director of the HMRI Cancer Research Program
Research Program :
  • Cancer
Research Topics :
Brain Cancer, Clinical Treatment & Palliative Care, Effective Medicines
Professor John Forbes - breast cancer researcher
Research Program :
  • Cancer
Research Topics :
Breast Cancer, Clinical Treatment & Palliative Care
Professor Xu Dong Zhang - HMRI Cancer Program Leader
Research Program :
  • Cancer
Research Topics :
Melanoma, Pancreatic, Colorectal & Rare Cancers
Dr Frank Alvaro - children's cancer researcher
Research Program :
  • Cancer
Research Topics :
Brain Cancer, Clinical Treatment & Palliative Care, Leukaemia
Dr Danielle Bond - Cancer Researcher
Research Program :
  • Cancer
Research Topics :
Breast Cancer, Pancreatic, Colorectal & Rare Cancers, Prostate Cancer
Associate Professor Nikola Bowden
Research Program :
  • Cancer
Research Topics :
Melanoma, Ovarian & Endometrial Cancer

2017

Matt Callander Beanie for Brain Cancer HMRI Fellowship Funded by the Mark Hughes Foundation
Fellowship
Researchers:

Dr Kelly McKelvey, Dr Viive Howell, Dr Connie Diakos, A/Prof Helen Wheeler, Dr Amanda Hudson

Description:

A good quality of life and long survival are standard societal expectations of health care, but sadly this is not the norm for patients with brain cancer (glioma). Surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy are current therapies which target cancer cells directly but have shown limited benefit to patients long-term.

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Honorariums
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Honorariums for speaking at conferences and meetings.

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Receptor tyrosine kinase mutations in acute myeloid leukaemia promote PP2A and p53 inhibition through the phosphorylation of SBDS
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Matt Dun, Nicole M Verrills

Description:

AML (acute myeloid leukemia) is a very aggressive form of leukemia. Tumour suppressor proteins are critically important for normal healthy cells to be protected from genetic mutations. However in AML mutations occur in the genes responsible for stem growth and cell differentiation. The growth of the blood stem cells is accelerated but their differentiation into other cells is inhibited.

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MHF Brain Cancer Care Coordinator
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Anthony Proietto

Description:

The CN2 will provide expert clinical consultancy to support high level care coordination for brain cancer patients requiring complex management.

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JAK3 Signalling in T-cell ALL: KU Leuven - VIB, COOLS - UoN-HCRA, DUN collaboration
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Matt Dun, Nikki Verrills

Description:

To aid international collaboration with KU Leuven - VIB in Belgium.

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Too Much of a Good Thing: Application for a triple-gas incubator to allow cell culture under normal conditions
Equipment Grant
Description:

A very useful and convenient method used in many fields of medical research involves growing cells in the laboratory. Cells are ""cultured"" in plastic dishes in incubators that provide an environment warmed to body temperature, 37 degrees Celsius. Human cells also require carbon dioxide to grow and this is added to the ambient air in the incubator. This kind of cell culture has been used for over a century and has been accepted as the standard way of growing cells in the laboratory. This method is very important and useful in cancer research.

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Tetraspanin CD9; more than just an exosome marker - A novel biomarker to target for prostate cancer
Project Grant
Description:

Currently the major hurdle facing the successful treatment of solid cancers is the development of metastases (tumour spread), and our lack of understanding of what controls this process.

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Award for Early Career Research - Gillian Gould
HMRI Award for Early Career Research
VIdentifying the genetic basis of childhood brain tumours by exome sequencing
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Childhood brain tumours (CBTs) are the second most common paediatric malignancy after leukaemia and the leading cause of cancer-related death in children under the age of 19 years. CBTs can be classified into several distinct groups based on their cell morphology and malignant potential. All CBTs have a neuroepithelial origin and are thought to be derived from neural stem cells that can differentiate into a variety of different tumour types such as astrocytic tumours, oligodendroglial tumours, mixed gliomas, ependymal tumours, neuronal and mixed tumours, neuronal and glial tumours, embryonal tumours and primitive neuroectodermal tumours. By far the most frequent are gliomas, followed by embryonal tumours. 

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Genome wide approach to risk assess Multiple Myeloma and precursor plasma cell disorders
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Anoop Enjeti, Ms Nadine Berry, Dr Wojt Janowski, L/Prof Rodney Scott, Prof Philip Rowlings

Description:

Multiple myeloma (MM) is a cancer of plasma cells, which are mature white blood cells within the bone marrow. The disease causes bone pain and weakening which often leads to fractures. It typically affects people over the age of 60, with about 1700 new diagnoses each year in Australia. It is incurable and carries a life expectancy of 2-7 years depending on the aggressiveness of the tumour cells. Although the actual cause of MM is unknown, it is often preceded by less severe forms of the disease called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), and smouldering multiple myeloma (SMM). However, not everyone with these early stages will develop MM, and it is not clear what drives progression of the disease. 

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Determining the mechanisms underpinning leukaemic transformation for children suffering from Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome (SDS)
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Matt Dun, Dr Nikki Verrills, Dr Jeremy Robertson

Description:

Shwachman-Diamond-Syndrome (SDS) is an inherited disease that affects 1 in every 76,000 children. Dysfunction of the child’s blood and circulatory system occurs in nearly all patients, causing increased rates of infection and decreased capacity to transport oxygen. Unfortunately, the overall survival of a young person with SDS is only 35 years, and this is attributed to sepsis, organ failure and most frequently the development of leukaemia. 

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Single-cell analysis of circulating tumour cells from newly diagnosed and metastatic breast cancer patients.
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Heather Lee, A/Prof Therese Becker, Prof Paul de Souza, Dr Patsy Soon

Description:

Breast cancer can spread to other organs in the body including the lungs, liver and bones. Unfortunately, this type of ‘metastatic’ breast cancer is difficult to treat, and the majority of patients die within 5 years of diagnosis. We urgently need new ways to prevent, detect and treat metastatic breast cancer, in order to save the lives of breast cancer patients.

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A therapy against pancreatic cancer and associated pain
Project Grant
Researchers:

Prof Hubert Hondermarck, Prof Marjorie Walker, Dr Phillip Jobling, Dr Rick Thorne

Description:

Recent discoveries, including from our laboratory, have revealed the important role played by nerves in cancer progression, and targeting nerve outgrowth in the tumour microenvironment is an emerging innovative strategy in oncology. In pancreatic cancer, it has been shown that the outgrowth of sensory nerves in the microenvironment is necessary to cancer progression and stimulates pain.

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A simple fingerprick and blood test to optimise chemotherapy dosing in oesophageal cancer
Project Grant
Researchers:

A/Prof Jennifer Schneider, Prof Stephen Ackland, Prof Jennifer Martin, Dr Peter Galettis, Dr Catherine Lucas, Ms Madhu Garg

Description:

The chemotherapy drug, 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), or its oral pro-drug capecitabine, are commonly used in treating oesophageal and gastric cancer. The dose a patient receives is currently determined using body surface area. This approach, however, produces outcomes ranging from poor efficacy to toxicity including mouth ulcers, diarrhoea or life threatening febrile neutropenia.

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A novel minimally invasive assay to identify patients with bowel cancer
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Peter Pockney, Laureate Prof Rodney Scott

Description:

Faecal occult blood testing (FOBT) is used as a population based method to identify people over the age of 50 years with colorectal cancer.   Fortunately, the majority of patients with a positive FOBT do not have colorectal cancer and only about 5% are diagnosed with CRC and 30% with polyps after colonoscopy.  Colonoscopy is not without risk and even in the most experienced hands there is a morbidity associated with this procedure.

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Oncogenic upregulation of the long noncoding RNA MAFG-AS1
Project Grant
Description:

It has become apparent over the last decade that a class of molecules called long noncoding RNAs (lncRNA), which were originally thought to be ‘junk’ in mammalian cells, play a major role in controlling gene expression and disease. 

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Re-purposing PARP inhibitors to treat childhood leukaemias
Project Grant
Description:

Cancer is the most common cause of childhood disease-related deaths, with leukaemia the most common childhood cancer in Australia. The two most common forms of leukaemia in children are acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Whilst remission is achievable in over 95% of ALL cases, 1/3 of patients will relapse within 5 to 10 years, and these children will not be long-term survivors. AML accounts for 20% of all childhood leukaemias, and the outlook for children diagnosed with AML is much worse, with only approximately half of children surviving for 5 years post-diagnosis.

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Developing new treatments for resistance in acute myeloid leukaemia
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Treatment for the most common and deadly form of blood cancer (acute myeloid leukaemia) hasn’t changed in over 40 years. New treatments fail because leukaemia’s genes have a high propensity to mutate, causing rapid resistance to therapies. We have discovered that these gene mutations cause chemical-modifications to the cells defence systems. Unrestrained growth of these cancerous cells results in the production of excess reactive by-products that progressively change the cancer, making long-term treatment response and patient survival unlikely. This project will test whether targeting these chemical-modifications will be a more effective new treatment strategy.

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MRSP Equipment Grant
Equipment Grant
Researchers:

Dr Matt Dun, Prof Hubert Hondermarck, Prof Murray Cairns, Prof Brett Nixon, Phillip Dickson, Dr Nikki Verrills

Description:

ChemiDoc MP System - this equipment will help directly facilitate the advanced research needs of >20 different groups of HMRI: Cancer (Dun, Hondermarck,  Verrills, Skelding, Tanwar, Weidenhofer, Scarlet, Bowden, Thorne etc), Brain and Mental Health  (Cairns, Dickson, Dayas, Jobling, Smith, Brichta, Lim etc) Pregnancy and Reproduction (Nixon,  Aitken, De Iuliis, Roman, Bromfield, Pringle) Information Based Medicine (Scott, Milward, Kiejda), VIVA (Hansbro, Starkey) and therefore an estimated >80 HDR students, ECRs and research assistants. 

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QIAxpert
Equipment Grant
Researchers:

Dr Pradeep Tanwar, Manish Kumar, Muhammad Fairuz Jamaluddin

Description:

This is a versatile, automated platform for quantification and quality control of DNA, RNA and proteins. It can process up to 16 samples in less than two minutes. This instrument does not require cleaning action so there are no chances of contamination from remnants of RNA from the previous sample. Once loaded the sample remains saved up to two hours as there is no evaporation loss. This machine provides the option for flexible input & multi-sample read. The analysis is automatic and a digital report is generated which can be exported to a USB. 

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Vanessa McGuigan HMRI Research Fellowship in Ovarian Cancer supported by the McGuigan Family
Fellowship
Researchers:
Description:

Ovarian cancer is most commonly treated with a chemotherapy drug called cisplatin. Cisplatin works by damaging DNA so much that the tumour cells die. It forms the basis of most combined treatment regimes (where two or more drugs are used in combination). The downside to cisplatin is that it is extremely toxic and although some patients benefit substantially from treatment, a large proportion suffer the toxic side effects without any therapeutic benefit.

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Emlyn and Jennie Thomas Postgraduate Medical Research Scholarship
Scholarship
Researchers:

Ms Yazmin Brown, Dr Pradeep Tanwar, Dr Susan Hua

Repurposing traditional chemotherapy to prime advanced melanoma for immune therapy
Project Grant
Researchers:
HMRI Mid-Career Clinical Research Fellowship in Brain Cancer supported by Mark Hughes Foundation
Fellowship
Researchers:

Dr Mike Fay

Mark Hughes Foundation Research Travel Grant
Travel Grant
Researchers:

Sandy Nixon

Description:

Funding request attendance to present poster at 5th Quadrennial Meeting of the World Federation of Neuro-Oncology Societies in Zurich, Switzerland from 4th-7th May 2017.

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Underpinning Australian brain cancer research: creating the resources essential to accelerate access and sharing of biospecimens and associated clinical data vital to advancing research in brain cancer.
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Raymond Cook, A/Prof Jennifer Byrne

Description:

Brain cancer is one of the most under researched of all cancers, little is known about its cause or how to treat it, resulting in very low survival rates. Brain cancer research increasingly relies on collections of tumour samples and associated data (biobanks). Due to the location of brain cancer, and its rare nature, obtaining sufficient clinical samples is difficult. Furthermore, brain cancer biobanks across Australia are geographically and operationally disparate, and to date there has been no effort to coordinate them.

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2016

Developing Synthetic Exosomes to Target and Deliver Anti-Cancer Agents to Prostate Cancer Cells
Project Grant
Researchers:

Joshua Brzozowski

Targeting DNA repair for the improved treatment of blood cancers
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Matt Dun, Dr Nikki Verrills

Description:

Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is the most common form of acute leukaemia, and it has the lowest 5yr survival rate at a dismal 24%. Recently, improved technologies have enabled researchers to identify a number of mutations that recur in AML.

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Cancer secretory molecules as a novel diagnostic biomarker for pancreatic cancer.
Project Grant
Description:

Metastatic pancreatic cancer has a low survival rate and even with the best existing therapies the survival is less than a year. Despite advances in treatments and outcomes for other cancers, this has not happened for pancreatic cancer with no advances in mortality reduction observed over the past decade. This grim outlook drives our research, which focuses on developing novel diagnostic strategies for pancreatic cancer.

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TrkA is overexpressed and is a potential adjunct therapeutic target in HER2-positive breast cancers
Travel Grant
Researchers:

Mr Sam Faulkner

Bioimpedence Scales
Equipment Grant
Description:

The Bioimpedence Scales are essentially a pair of 'fancy' scales that measure the density of body tissue to predict body mass - amount and composition. This is important because we know the relative amounts of fat and lean tissue in a patient affect how much of a drug gets to a particular site like the tumour and also determines how long it stays there and how the drug is released over time.

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EphA2 as a circulating biomarker for GBM progression – a pilot study
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Jennette Sakoff, Dr Mike Fay; Dr James Lynam

Description:

Annually there are 2,000 new cases of brain cancer in Australia. Prognosis for people with brain cancer is dire. Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common brain tumour, the most lethal and difficult to treat. 

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Brain Cancer care co-ordinator research project
Project Grant
Researchers:

Sandy Nixon

Underpinning Australian brain cancer research: creating the resources essential to accelerate access and sharing of biospecimens and associated clinical data vital to advancing research in brain cancer.
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Raymond Cook, Robyn Leonard, Jennifer Byrne

Description:

Brain Cancer Biobanking Australia (BCBA) is an initiative established to facilitate the networking of both adult and paediatric brain cancer biobanking operations Australia-wide with the aim of providing researchers with access to the number, quality and type of tissue samples and associated data

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Defining and predicting clinical toxicity in GBM patients undergoing temozolomide-radiation treatment: A multivariate study.
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr James Lynam, Dr Jennette Sakoff, Professor Jenny Martin, Dr Lisa Lincz, Dr Mike Fay, Giovana Celli Marchett, Dr Peter Galettis

Description:

Annually there are 2,000 new cases of brain cancer in Australia. Prognosis for people with brain cancer is dire. It is the highest cause of death in 0-39 age group with a 5-year survival rate of 19%. Brain cancer results in 5,000 hospitalisations per year (average stay 12.5 days, the longest of any cancer) and has the highest lifetime cost per patient of $1.89m [1].

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BAALC - a novel target for the development of new treatments for brain cancer.
Project Grant
Description:

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Brain cancer is the 15th most common cancer in the world, and has one of the worst survival rates of all cancer types, with only approximately half of patients surviving for one year post-diagnosis. This poor survival rate highlights that new treatments for brain cancer are urgently required.

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Targeting a tumour suppressor for new cancer therapies
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Nicole Verrills

Description:

Previous research has shown that the PPP2R2A gene is ‘lost’ or ‘switched off’, in up to half of all breast cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, and colon cancer patients.

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Receptor tyrosine kinase mutations in acute myeloid leukaemia promote PP2A and p53 inhibition through the phosphorylation of SBDS
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Matt Dun, Dr Nicole M Verrills

Description:

AML (acute myeloid leukemia) is a very aggressive form of leukemia. Tumour suppressor proteins are critically important for normal healthy cells to be protected from genetic mutations. However in AML mutations occur in the genes responsible for stem growth and cell differentiation.

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Improving the treatment benefit of immunotherapy in cancer
Project Grant
Description:

Cancer immunotherapy is a therapeutic strategy that harnesses cancer patients own immune system to specifically target cancer cells. A new class of newly developed drugs in cancer immunotherapy (called immune checkpoint inhibitors) can cause long lasting regression of tumors and prevent relapse but only a small number of patients currently benefit from these drugs.

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Tetraspanin CD9; more than just an exosome marker - A novel biomarker to target for prostate cancer
Project Grant
Description:

Currently the major hurdle facing the successful treatment of solid cancers is the development of metastases (tumour spread), and our lack of understanding of what controls this process.

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2015

BAALC - a novel target for the development of new treatments for brain cancer.
Project Grant
Description:

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Brain cancer is the 15th most common cancer in the world, and has one of the worst survival rates of all cancer types, with only approximately half of patients surviving for one year post-diagnosis. This poor survival rate highlights that new treatments for brain cancer are urgently required.

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Defining and predicting clinical toxicity in GBM patients undergoing temozolomide-radiation treatment: A multivariate study.
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr James Lynam, Jennette Sakoff, Jenny Martin, Lisa Lincz, Mike Fay, Giovana Celli Marchett, Peter Galettis

Description:

Annually there are 2,000 new cases of brain cancer in Australia. Prognosis for people with brain cancer is dire. It is the highest cause of death in 0-39 age group with a 5-year survival rate of 19%. Brain cancer results in 5,000 hospitalisations per year (average stay 12.5 days, the longest of any cancer) and has the highest lifetime cost per patient of $1.89m.

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Nerves and Neurotrophins as New Therapeutic Targets in Cervical Cancer
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Hubert Hondermarck, Phil Jobling, Marjorie Walker, Janine Lombard, Jay Pundavela, Sam Faulkner

Description:

A new paradigm shift in oncology has revealed the role of nerves in cancer initiation and progression.

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Tour de Cure Travel Grant - AACR Conference, USA, April 2016 - Chloe Warren
Travel Grant
Researchers:

Mrs Susan Goode, Chloe Warren
 

Jennie Thomas Medical Research Travel Grant
Travel Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Matt will use his Jennie Thomas medical research travel grant to attend the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) Targeted Proteomics Course to be held at the Centre for Genomic Regulation, Barcelona, Spain where he will learn the theory and methods necessary to implement targeted proteomics workflow on patient samples which he will then pass onto the researchers of HMRI.
 

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JAK3 Signalling in T-cell ALL: KU Leuven - VIB, COOLS - UoN-HCRA, DUN collaboration
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Matthew Dun, Nikki Verrills

The development of new drugs that selectively target breast cancer
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

More than 3,000 women die of breast cancer each year in Australia.

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A novel model of colorectal cancer for studying personalised tumour biology, metastasis and the role of the microbiome
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Colorectal cancer (CRC) remains amongst the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer in Australia and world-wide.

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Improving the effectiveness of a new treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia (AML)
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Kathryn Skelding, Dr Mengna Chi, Dr Nicole Verrills, Dr Roger Liang

Description:

Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is the most common acute leukaemia affecting adults, and accounts for ~20% of childhood leukaemias.

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A novel approach to destruct melanoma
Project Grant
Description:

Australia has the highest incidence of melanoma in the world and kills more young Australians aged 20–34 years old than any other single cancer. 

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Laying the Foundations for Improved Treatments for IDH-Mutated Glioma
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Helen Wheeler, Dr Viive Howell, Associate Professor Michael Back and Professor Stephen Ackland
 

Description:

While a diagnosis of a brain tumour is devastating and life-changing, low grade brain tumours initially have a relatively slow moving clinical course and good prognosis.

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20th Annual Society for Neuro-Oncology Annual Scientific Meeting and Education Day, San Antonio, Texas, 19-22 November 2015
Travel Grant
Researchers:

Ms Marina Kastelan
 

Description:

I would propose to attend the 20th Annual Society for Neuro-Oncology Annual Scientific Meeting and Education Day November 19-22, 2015 - San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter, San Antonio, Texas.

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8th COGNO Annual Scientific Meeting, Brisbane, 22-24 October 2015
Travel Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Dr Craig Gedye will use his Mark Hughes Foundation Travel Grant to join top national and international researchers at the COGNO (Co-operative Trials Group for Neuro-Oncology) meeting in Brisbane.

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American Society for Therapeutic Radiation Oncology Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, 18-21 October 2015
Travel Grant
Researchers:

Dr Mike Fay

Description:

Dr Mike Fay is a Calvary Mater Newcastle radiation oncologist and used his Mark Hughes Foundation Travel Grant to attend the ‘Technology meets patient care’ American Society for Therapeutic Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) meeting in San Antonio, Texas, from October 18-21.  This grant will help Mike in his goal to develop better brain tumour imaging and therapeutics.

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Inaugural International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference, New York, 16-19 September 2015
Travel Grant
Researchers:

Dr Viive Howell

Description:

Funding is requested to attend the Inaugural International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference, September 16 -19, 2015, in New York, New York, USA. 

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8th COGNO Annual Scientific Meeting, Brisbane, 22-24 October 2015
Travel Grant
Researchers:

Dr Adrian Lee
 

Description:

Dr Adrian Lee is also attending Dr Lee the COGNO Annual Scientific Meeting in Brisbane this month to present data on the use of the drug Bevacizumab in Glioma (a tumour that begins in the brain’s glial cells). 

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8th COGNO Annual Scientific Meeting, Brisbane, 22-24 October 2015
Travel Grant
Researchers:

Dr Pia Laegdsgaard, Ms Demi Lund
 

Description:

Pia Laegdsgaard will use her Mark Hughes Foundation travel grant to present at the COGNO Annual Scientific Meeting in Brisbane this month. Pia has developed a research poster outlining the processes involved in establishing and managing the brain cancer facility as part of the HCB.

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A novel approach to cancer therapy - targeting patients with loss of a specific tumour suppressor gene
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Nicole Verrills, Dr Kathryn Skelding

Description:

Cancer is the leading cause of death in Australia. Each year over 120,000 Australian’s will be diagnosed with cancer, and tragically, more than 42,000 patients will die from this disease. 

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Tetraspanin CD9; more than just an exosome marker - A novel biomarker to target for prostate cancer
Project Grant
Description:

Currently the major hurdle facing the successful treatment of solid cancers is the development of metastases (tumour spread), and our lack of understanding of what controls this process. 

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2014

Triple-gas incubator
Equipment Grant
Description:

Dr Gedye’s basic laboratory research within the HMRI Building will focus on ways of targeting these more aggressive kidney cancer cells, and hopefully lead to novel combinations of old and new drugs to work with the medications routinely used in the clinic.

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Developing Synthetic Exosomes to Target and Deliver Anti-Cancer Agents to Prostate Cancer Cells
Scholarship
Researchers:
Description:

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in Australia. Once a prostate cancer begins to spread (metastasise), it becomes very difficult to treat and often results in patient death. 

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Overcoming resistance of KRAS mutant colon cancer to treatment by targeting heat shock protein 90
Project Grant
Description:

Most patients with late stage bowel cancer will eventually die of the disease because bowel cancer cells are resistant to drug treatment.

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What is different about red blood cells in people with type 2 diabetes?
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Lisa Lincz, Dr Rick Thorne

Description:

The aim of this research is to understand how diabetes cause complications in other parts of the body.

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Prostate Cancer: A new protein for improving diagnosis, prognosis and treatment
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Severine Roselli, Professor Hubert Hondermarck

Description:

Bone metastases of prostate cancer are particularly painful and there are no relieving treatments.

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Identification of better diagnostic tools and treatment regimens for children with Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome (SDS)
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Matthew Dun, Dr Nikki Verrills

Description:

Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome (SDS) is an inherited condition affecting bone marrow, the pancreas, skeletal system, and other organ systems. 

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Identification and evaluation of anti-pancreatic cancer activity of cytotoxic compounds extracted from Australian sea sponges: a pilot study
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Christopher Scarlett, Dr Quan Vuong, Dr Judith Weidenhofer, Dr Rick Thorne, Assosciate Professor Michael Bowyer, Dr Trou Gaston

Description:

Pancreatic Cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer related death in the western world and there is an urgent need to develop new therapeutic strategies. 

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Circulating microRNAs and RNAs as biomarkers of response and toxicity to chemoradiotherapy for oesophageal cancer
Project Grant
Description:

Oesophageal cancer is the eighth-most common cancer globally and the sixth-most common cause of cancer related death in the Western world.

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Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopic Imaging: improved accuracy of prostate cancer diagnosis and follow-up
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Saadallah Ramadan, Dr Peter Stanwell 

Description:

Prostate cancer is a common male malignancy that can be difficult to accurately diagnose and to determine its grade, so that the best treatment can be provided.

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Margaret Taylor Research Supplementary Scholarship
Travel Grant
Researchers:

Mr Jay Pundavela 

Description:

Conference: San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) 2014
SABCS is a highly regarded annual meeting that aims to provide high quality information on experimental biology, prevention, diagnosis and therapy of breast cancer to an audience that focuses on breast cancer research. 

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Tetraspanin CD9; more than just an exosome marker - A novel biomarker to target for prostate cancer
Project Grant
Description:

Currently the major hurdle facing the successful treatment of solid cancers is the development of metastases (tumour spread), and our lack of understanding of what controls this process.

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ProBBANG: Prospective study of Bevacizumab-induced Blood pressure and ANGiogenic factors as predictive biomarkers in colorectal cancer
Project Grant
Description:

Blood pressure and blood vessel proteins as predictive biomarkers to determine which patients will benefit from a new chemotherapy drug for colorectal cancer.

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2013

Combining immunotherapy and targeted therapy in the treatment of human melanoma (Cancer Program Bridge Funding)
Fellowship
Researchers:

Dr Hsin-Yi Tseng 

Description:

Hsin-Yi currently has a postdoctoral position at the Melanoma Research Laboratory of the Cancer Program at HMRI.

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Enhancing radiation effects for the treatment of brain cancer
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Jennette Sakoff, Jayne Gilbert, Adam McCluskey 

Description:

A new compound to improve the outcomes of brain cancer in children

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Targeting BAALC as a new treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Kathryn Skelding, Nikki Verrills

Description:

Improving survival from Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) with new therapies

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Myr-C310: A new treatment for childhood leukaemia
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Kathryn Skelding, Nikki Verrills

Description:

Improving survival and reducing treatment side effects in childhood leukaemia

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Defining the role of shwachman-bodien diamond syndrome protein (SBDS) in PP2A inhibition in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML)
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Matthew Dun, Nikki Verrils

Description:

A new treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia

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Identifying novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Matthew Dun, Nikki Verrills

Description:

Finding the ‘disease-causing’ mutations and proteins in Acute Myeloid Leukaemia to develop new treatment strategies.

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RIPK1 as a novel therapeutic target in melanoma
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

A new target for melanoma treatment 

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Preclinical testing of a novel therapeutic strategy for breast cancer
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Nicole Verrills, Kathryn Skelding

Description:

Testing a new treatment strategy for breast cancer - turning proteins "on" that improve patient survival

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FU-SAFE: Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis Evaluating the Link Between Dihydropyrimidine Dehydrogenase (DPD) Genotype and/or Phenotype, and Severe Fluoropyrimidine-Related Toxicity
Project Grant
Description:

Fluoropyrimidines (5-FU and capecitabine) are anticancer drugs commonly used in a range of cancers including oesophageal, gastric and colorectal cancers.  Their toxicity is unpredictable, leading to significant and sometimes life-threatening side effects.  Pharmacokinetics (steady state plasma level, area under the curve, etc.) varies between patients by a factor of 5-10, and this is also unpredictable.  Although therapeutic drug monitoring might allow better management of pharmacokinetic variability by rapid dose adjustment, it is labour-intensive and time-consuming.

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Development of a protocol to test the effectiveness of two drug therapies in the control of prostate cancer
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Androgen suppression (AS) used prior to or following RT for locally advanced prostate cancer reduces cancerous recurrence in the prostate and at metastatic sites, thereby also reducing prostate cancer mortality. 

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IBIS 3: Preventing late recurrence of ER positive breast cancer in postmenopausal women a comprehensive approach
Project Grant

2012

Proteomics of Cancer - International Travel Grant
Project Grant
Researchers:

2011

The Role of Phosphatidylinositol 4, 5-Bisphosphate 5-Phosphatase A (PIB5PA) in Regulation of PI3K/Akt Signalling in Melanoma - HMRI Project Grant
Project Grant
Researchers:
Which anti-smoking media campaign best predicts perceived effectiveness among socioeconomically disadvantaged smokers? An experimental study
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Billie BonevskiAssociate Professor C Paul, Professor CDEste, Ms Asmith, Professor Chris Doran

Does Ubiquitination control the altered expression of tetraspanin proteins in Breast Cancer? - HMRI Project Grant
Project Grant
Researchers:
HMRI Education Prize
Project Grant
Researchers:
Establishment of Fat1 cadherin as biomarker and unique target for anti-cancer therapy in paediatric acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Rick Thorne, Charles de Bock, Lisa Lincz

Mitotane pharmacodynamics in Adrenocortical Cancer in children and adults
Project Grant
Researchers:
Longitudinal changes in mammographic density as a biomarker for future breast cancer events - Gallerie Fine Jewellery General Cancer Research Project Grant
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor John Forbes, Professor Cate D'Este, Mrs Judy Jobling
 

Identification of a novel target for the treatment of hormone positive breast cancer - HMRI Breast Cancer Research Grant
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Jennette Sakoff, Dr J Gilbert, Professor Adam McCluskey
 

High-Resolution Isoelectric Phosphoprotein Signalling System for Signalling Research, Biomarker Validation and Drug Development
Equipment Grant
Researchers:
Pathogenic of Plasma CD36 Microparticles in Mediating Complications of Type 2 Diabetes
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Rick Thorne, Lisa Lincz

2010

Targeting PP2A as a novel therapeutic Strategy for mutant FLT3+ Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Nicole Verrills, Dr Kyu-Tae Kim, Anoop Enjeti
 

Regulation of BimS splicing in response of human melanoma cells to inhibition of BRAFVV600E
Project Grant
Research Higher Degree support grant in Medical Innovation - Investigating the mechanism of oncogenic c-KIT mediated inactivation of the tumour suppressor Protein Phosphastase 2A (PP2A)
Project Grant
Researchers:

Ms Amanda Smith
 

Award for Early Career Research - Peter Greer
HMRI Award for Early Career Research
Researchers:
Regulation of Breast Cancer Growth by a Novel Phosphorylation-Dependent Targeting Mechanism
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Kathryn Skelding, Nikki Verrills, John Rostas

Preclinical testing of PP2A activating compounds for the treatment of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Nicole Verrills, Dr Anthony Don 

The Role of micro-RNA-149 in Regulation of Mcl-1 in Human Melanoma under Stress
Project Grant
Epigenetic methylation of PP2A subunit promoters in breast cancer
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Nicole Verrills 

Investigation of Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Prostate Radiation Therapy Planning
Scholarship
Researchers:

Mr Jonathan Lambert, Dr Peter Greer 

New small molecules for the treatment of neuroblastoma
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Carole Gilbert, Jennette Sakoff, Megan Chircop 

Pathogenic of Plasma CD36 Microparticles in Mediating Complications of Type 2 Diabetes
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Rick Thorne, Lisa Lincz

2009

Identification of Genetic Modifiers of Kidney Disease
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Severine Roselli, Leonie Ashman, Professor Rodney Scott
 

Identification of Leukaemic Stem Cell based upon their expression of a novel surface marker, Fat1.
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Rick Thorne, Lisa Lincz

2008

In children with type 1 Diabetes on intensive insulin therapy, can improving carbohydrate knowledge and targeted nutrition education strategies improve diabetes management?
Project Grant
Novel Alternative Splice Isoforms of the SET Oncogene in Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Nicole Verrills
 

2007

PhD Scholarship
Scholarship
Researchers:

Professor Leonie Ashman, Ben Copeland
 

Award for Research Excellence - Jim Denham
HMRI Award for Research Excellence
Researchers:
Investigating the role of protein phosphatise 2A in the oncogenic transformation of myeloid cells in leukaemia
Project Grant
Researchers:

Ms Kathryn Roberts, Dr Nicole verrills
 

A novel adhesive target involved in the survival of leukaemia cells
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Rick Thorne, Dr Lisa Lincz

Regulation of cancer cell behaviour by tetraspanin molecular complexes
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Judith Scott, Dr Leonie Ashman
 

The role of p53 Isoforms in chemoresistances of human melanoma
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Xu Dong Zhang, Mrs Kelly Kiejda
 

The role of p53 Isoforms in chemoresistances of human melanoma
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Xu Dong Zhang, Mrs Kelly Kiejda
 

Award for Research Excellence - John Forbes
HMRI Award for Research Excellence
Researchers:

2006

Bio-Rad Mini-PROTEAN 3 Electrophoresis system
Equipment Grant
Researchers:

Professor Leonie Ashman, Dr P Dickson, Professor Peter Dunkley, Professor J Rostas, Dr J Scott, Associate Professor A Sim, Dr N Verrills

High speed computer for a live cells imaging system.
Equipment Grant
Researchers:

Dr Rick Thorne, Professor G Burns, Dr N Verrills, Associate Professor A Sim
 

Overcoming radiation resistance in malignant melanoma
Project Grant
Serum antioxidant micronutrient levels in paediatric oncology patients on therapy
Project Grant
Researchers:

Mrs E Webster, Dr Frank Alvaro
 

Investigating the functional role of altered expression and point mutations in the tumour suppressor gene, protein phosphatise 2A (PP2A)
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Nicole Verrills
 

Novel protein phosphatase interactions in cancer
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Nicole Verrills, Associate Professor Alistair Sim
 

Equipment Grant
Equipment Grant
Researchers:

Associate Professor Martin Ebert
 

2005

How the Cell surface protein CD151 promotes invasive behaviour in breast cancer
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Leonie Ashman
 

Prostate Cancer - Clinical Trials RADAR
Project Grant
Researchers:

2004

Imaging Analysis Equipment
Equipment Grant
Researchers:

Professor Leonie Ashman,Jayne Gilbert
 

New drugs targeting protein kinases
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Leonie Ashman, Dr A McCluskey
 

Production of diagnostic-quality x-ray from a megavoltage radiotherapy beam
Project Grant
Researchers:

Associate Professor Martin Ebert, Dr Peter Greer
 

Award for Early Career Research - Xu Dong Zhang
HMRI Award for Early Career Research

2003

Award of Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Allan Spigelman
 

The effect of modulation of Carcinogen metabolising enzymes on biomarkers of cancer risk.
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Allan Spigelman
 

Methods of developing new anticancer drugs
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Leonie Ashman, Dr Adam McClusky
 

Production of diagnostic quality x-rays
Project Grant
Researchers:

Associate Professor Martin Ebert, Dr Peter Geer
 

The role of c-CBL loss in drug resistance - (funded by Daniel Buck - General)
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Patranel Ferrao, Dr Jayne Gilbert
 

Development of a protocol to test the effectiveness of two drug therapies in the control of prostate cancer
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor James Denham, Md O Kovacev
 

Description:

RADAR - Randomised androgen deprivation and radiotherapy - in prostate cancer. 

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Regulation of TNF Apoptosis Inducing Ligand (Trail) Receptor Expression in Human Melanoma Cells
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Peter Hersey, Professor Xu Dong Zhang
 

Detection of mutations in c-Kit in paediatric mastocytosis patient samples and structural analysis of the interaction between the D816Vkit mutant and inhibitor drugs
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Leonie Ashman, PT Ferrao
 

2002

Reasons for the use of herbal treatment by menopausal women.
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Usha Parvarthy, Dr Jon Adams & Dr David Sibbritt
 

Molecular basis for drug resistance in a children's cancer
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Leonie Ashman, Dr Petranel Ferrao
 

Promoting human melanoma cell death
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Peter Hersey, Dr Xu Zhang
 

PULSE Education Prize
Project Grant
Researchers:

2001

Award for Outstanding Achievement
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Gordon Burns
 

Influence of haematopoetic stem cell temerase activity on bone marrow recovery following myoablative therapy.
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Lisa Lincz, Dr A. Enno

2000

A counter-intuitive anticancer treatment
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Jennette SakoffDr Stephen Ackland and Dr Adam McCluskey

 

The mechanism of cell death signalling induced by the anti-cancer drug cytosine arabinoside
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Perry Hartfield
 

Optimising Breast Cancer Therapy
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Patricia Ostwald, Dr Chris Hamilton, Associate Professor Tomas Kron and Professor Jim Denham
 

Newcastle and Hunter Junior Chamber Special Commendation Prize
Project Grant
Researchers:
PULSE Education Prize
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Richard Bates
 

Award for Early Career Research - Jennette Sakoff
HMRI Award for Early Career Research
Researchers:

1999

Investigation of the cellular checkpoint proteins in desmoid tumour cells.
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Benjamin Curry and Professor Rodney Scott
 

Gene Therapy for Colon Cancer
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Michael Agrez
 

PULSE Education Prize
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Benjamin Curry
 

1998

Characterisation of a Pituitary Target Autoantigen
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Damien D'wyer, Trish Crock and Roger Smith
 

Cantharidin
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Jennette SakoffDr Stephen Ackland, Dr Adam McCluskey.
 

Research Fellowship for Bowel and Prostate Cancer
Fellowship
Researchers:

Dr Hamid Frydoon, Professor Allan Spegelman