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Cancer
15 February, 2018

Boosting cancer research in South Australia

Cancer

The Minister for Health, Hon Peter Malinauskas MLC announced today that a re-elected Labor Government will commit an additional $3 million to fully fund the Beat Cancer Project; a flagship cancer research funding collaboration between Cancer Council SA, the State Government, SAHMRI and the universities; for the next three years.

The news coincides with the announcement of the latest funding cycle of Beat Cancer Project researchers, which will see more than $9 million dollars invested into 35 research projects across all the major South Australian research institutes.

Cancer Council SA Chief Executive Lincoln Size commended the announcement today, which will ensure that world class cancer research remains in South Australia.

“Investing in cancer research in South Australia translates to better patient treatment outcomes and optimal care for all those affected by cancer in our community.”

“This commitment will allow the Beat Cancer Project to be fully co-funded by a re-elected Labor Government in conjunction with Cancer Council until 2021. Through this continuation of funding we will be able to ensure a strategic and prioritised approach to cancer research and make real life changing steps towards a cancer free future for all South Australians.”

Outside of the Federal Government, The Beat Cancer Project is the single biggest source of cancer research funding in the state and is a collaboration between Cancer Council SA, the State Government, SAHMRI and the Universities.

SAHMRI Executive Director Professor Steve Wesselingh said SAHMRI is very pleased to be administering the Beat Cancer Project which continues to be enormously successful, funding high quality research to advance patient care and reduce the impact of cancer in our community.

“The continued commitment of Cancer Council and the State Government also allows South Australia to build its strength and competitiveness in health and medical research, providing exciting opportunities for upcoming talented young researchers.”    

A range of research projects will be funded in 2018 through the Beat Cancer Project, ranging from improving gastrointestinal cancer outcomes to a therapeutic strategy that has the potential to develop new diagnostic tools and treatment strategies.

This includes $1.2 million dollars allocated towards the Principal Cancer Research Fellowships for Associate Professor Lisa Butler (University of Adelaide) and Professor Hamish Scott (University of South Australia).

Associate Professor Butler is researching new and innovative ways to successfully treat advanced prostate cancer, while Professor Scott is investing new genetic factors that lead to the development of rare cancers and finding better ways of successfully treating and monitoring them.

Since it started in 2011, Cancer Council’s Beat Cancer Project has funded more than 200 individual research projects across a range of cancers including bowel, breast, prostate and melanoma. You can find out more about Cancer Council’s Beat Cancer Project here.

MEET THE RESEARCHERS

Associate Professor Lisa Butler - University of Adelaide / SAHMRI

University of Adelaide Researcher Associate Professor Lisa Butler will receive $600,000 from the Beat Cancer Project in 2018 towards an innovative research program that aims to better inform treatment decisions for men diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in South Australian men, however there is still so much we don’t know. In particular, I’m interested in why some men have very aggressive disease and poorer outcomes, while others have low risk disease, respond well to treatment and live a long and healthy life.”

“My goal is to improve treatment choices and outcomes for men with prostate cancer, using a unique approach that analyses human prostate tissue that we collect from surgery. We aim to use the information from our research with these tissues to develop more sensitive, non-invasive tests to better predict tumour aggressiveness, and to develop and trial new therapies tailored to help those who need it most,” she said.

Professor Hamish Scott - UniSA 

UniSA researcher Professor Hamish Scott will receive $600,000 from the Beat Cancer Project towards his research, which focuses on the relationship between rare cancers and genetics.

“All diseases in humans have a genetic component, either inherited or caused by cell mutation. When I first started looking at haematological cancers such as lymphoma and leukaemia, it was thought that genetics didn’t matter. Families with more than one cases were just considered ‘unlucky’. Now it is recognised that more than 10% to 20% of these cancers have strong genetic component. Through this funding, we are able to work on therapies that can address some of these cancers, find better ways of treating and monitoring them, and ultimately save lives,” he said.

This story was reproduced with permission from Cancer Council SA.

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