Dialog Box


Brain Cancer Discovery Collaborative

The BCDC brought together eminent members of the scientific and medical research community across Australia to find new treatments and a cure for brain cancer. Read more about the Collaborative and the BCDC research projects Cure Brain Cancer helped fund.



Cure Brain Cancer announced $1 million in funding for the Brain Cancer Discovery Collaborative (BCDC) at its launch in March 2013. To date the Foundation has committed $3.8 million in funding for the Collaborative. 


Brain Cancer Discovery Collaborative funding 

The BCDC was a national collaboration designed to raise awareness, ‘target the gaps’, share knowledge, capacity, resources and raise funds for brain cancer research.

The BCDC was led by:

  • Director and Founder: Professor Terry Johns from Hudson Institute of Medical Research, VIC.
  • Deputy Director: Professor Andrew Boyd (Clinical) from the Brain Cancer Research Unit at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, QLD.
  • Deputy Director: Associate Professor Kerrie McDonald (Translational Science) from the Cure Brain Cancer Neuro-oncology Group at the Lowy Cancer Research Centre, University of New South Wales.

Read more about some of the research highlights Cure Brain Cancer funded within the Brain Cancer Discovery Collaborative: 






Understanding cellular pathwaysProf Terry Johns


This project focused on understanding the various cellular pathways that allow brain tumours to survive and grow. Understanding these pathways will allow the team to develop effective targeted therapies for treating patients with high grade glioma. Read more




Cure Brain Cancer Neuro-oncology Group - A/Prof Kerrie McDonald


This project focuses on precision medicine; one patient, one treatment. It aims to achieve a better understanding of the patient’s biology and a holistic understanding of druggable targets and druggable pathways that will lead to improved survival times. Read more




Paediatric Oncology, from Bench to Bed - Dr Nick Gottardo

Childhood brain cancers are often incurable. In Australia, brain cancer is the second most common cause of death in childhood, after accidents. Dr Nick Gottardo's team is identifying new therapies to be tested in clinical trials by using high-throughput robotics to screen thousands of drugs as potential inhibitors of childhood brain cancer growth.  Read more



Molecular imagingProf Stephen Rose


Our aim is to develop innovative molecular imaging technologies that will provide improved image-guided therapy and novel theranostic treatment strategies for brain cancer. Read more




Investigating the process of cell invasion - A/Prof Geraldine O'Neill


Progression to invasive cancer is the leading cause of death for patients with cancer, irrespective of cancer type.Understanding invasion by glioblastoma, the most common malignant primary brain cancer in adults, is the first step towards new specific treatments with fewer side effects. Read more



Members’ key areas of research include:

  • Professor Terry Johns (Monash Institute of Medical Research, VIC), has worked in cancer research for more than 15 years. He focuses 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 (QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, QLD) is a clinical haematologist and oncologist whose lab focuses on cancer biology and the elucidation of potential targets for cancer therapy; he leads the animal model experiments. He also works 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).
  • Professor Stephen Rose (University of Queensland) leads the clinical imaging program developing antibodies that target brain cancer as agents to detect invasion of tumour cells locally and efficacy of therapeutic response to the drug candidate.
  • Associate Professor 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's role is to "validate" the drug targets in various subsets of tumour tissue and DNA samples from patients. They 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.
  • Dr Nicholas Gottardo (Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, WA) is a practising consultant paediatric oncologist and neuro-oncologist. He directs the work on paediatric cancer, including the animal models and taking drugs into the clinic. Read more about paediatric research within the BCDC here.

The collaborative is currently focussing on repurposing existing cancer treatments for brain cancer, an approach that has the potential to leapfrog the traditional research pathway.