The BCDC brings together a diverse group of researchers from all across Australia with the aim of working together to change outcomes for adults and children with brain cancer. Cure For Life is supporting the Collaborative and has announced $1million in funding.
High profile neurosurgeon and CFLF founder Dr Charlie Teo says there is no known cure for brain cancer, yet it has the greatest impact on society of all cancers.
“In the past 30 years, there have been no significant breakthroughs in brain cancer research,” Dr Teo said.
“At this pace we can expect that a cure will be 50 years away, will cost $50 billion and that brain cancer will claim another 3 million lives. Cure For Life’s new Research Strategy is designed to find treatments within 10 years not 50.
“A new collaborative model like this one provides us with the potential to remove the barriers preventing our researchers and clinicians from finding a cure and to create a global platform for brain cancer research that brings people and opportunities together for discoveries for Australian brain cancer researchers and ultimately brain cancer patients.
“We are grateful to the Cure For Life donors who have enabled us to contribute to such an innovative and talented group. A collaborative platform in brain cancer reinstates hope beyond what a neurosurgeon can offer for those enduring this insidious cancer,” Dr Teo said.
BCDC Director Associate Professor Terrance Johns said: “The BCDC is based on the highly successful UCLA collaborative model and we will be focusing our activity on developing new treatments for this lethal disease”.
“Along with accelerating research and sharing core resources the BCDC will establish mentoring networks to encourage young researchers into the area.
“We believe this new approach will enable us to move new therapies into clinical trial within the next two years,” A/Prof Johns said.
Note to editors: About the BCDC
BCDC is led by Director A/Prof Terrance Johns from Monash Institute of Medical Research, Victoria and Deputy Directors Prof Andrew Boyd (Clinical) from Brain Cancer Research Unit at Queensland Institute of Medical Research and Dr Kerrie McDonald (Translational Science) from the Cure for Life Neuro-oncology Group at Lowy Cancer Research Centre, University of New South Wales.
Members’ key areas of research include:
- Associate Professor Terrance Johns (Monash Institute of Medical Research, VIC), has worked in cancer research for more than 15 years. He has focused on how the signalling of a particular family of cell-surface molecules [EGFR; epidermal growth factor] promotes the survival of cancer cells and on drugs that block the activity of these receptors.
- Professor Andrew Boyd (Queensland Institute of Medical Research, QLD) is a clinical haematologist and oncologist whose lab focuses on cancer biology and the elucidation of potential targets for cancer therapy; he will lead the animal model experiments. He will also continue work on the Eph proteins in brain tumours. His work on protein EphA3 with colleagues Dr Bryan Day and Dr Brett Stringer was published in prestigious journal Cancer Cell in February and is being hailed as a potential treatment for targeting aggressive brain tumours, called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).
- Dr Kerrie McDonald (Lowy Cancer Research Centre, NSW) carries out translational research on brain cancer and is the director of two major glioma tumour banks. Her team will "validate" the drug targets in various subsets of tumour tissue and DNA samples from patients. They will also look for markers of treatment response in tissue samples collected during clinical trials. (One of those banks is called the Australian Genomics and Clinical Outcomes of Glioma (AGOG), which holds Australia’s largest and most complete biobank specific to glioma.)
- Associate Professor Geraldine O’Neill (The Children's Hospital at Westmead, NSW) is an expert in the investigation of cancer cell invasion and has developed a range of 3D cell culture models that mimic the in vivo brain environment and are superior to frequently used 2D assays in their ability to predict in vivo drug response and tumour behaviour.
- Associate Professor Stephen Rose (University of Queensland) will lead the clinical imaging program develop antibodies that target brain cancer as agents to detect invasion of tumour cells locally and efficacy of therapeutic response to the drug candidate.
Dr Nicholas Gottardo (Telethon Institute for Child Health Research WA) is a practising consultant paediatric oncologist and neuro-oncologist. He will direct the work on paediatric cancer, including the animal models and taking drugs into the clinic.