Two of SAHMRI’s up-and-coming young researchers are major beneficiaries of the latest round of Cancer Council SA’s Beat Cancer Project funding.
Dr Ilaria Pagani from SAHMRI and the University of Adelaide has been awarded a three-year, $300,000 Mid Career Research Fellowship to continue her quest to improve therapeutic outcomes for chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) patients.
Early Career Research Fellowship recipient Dr Krzysztof Mrozik is also with SAHMRI and the University of Adelaide. He’ll receive $240,000 over three years to investigate novel drug delivery options to enhance the quality of life and survival for people with multiple myeloma.
One of the most commonly used and effective treatments for multiple myeloma is a drug called bortezomib, however Dr Mrozik says can cause debilitating side effects including pain, numbness and even paralysis of the hands and feet.
“A major problem with bortezomib is that goes to many parts of the body, not just the cancer, after being injected,” Dr Mrozik said.
“Our project aims to disrupt blood vessels in tumours and to use tiny capsules called nanoparticles in order to improve delivery and release of bortezomib, and other commonly used multiple myeloma drugs, at sites of the cancer while minimising exposure to healthy tissue.”
The work of two senior SAHMRI and the University of Adelaide researchers will also benefit from Beat Cancer Project funding.
SAHMRI Precision Medicine Theme Leader, Professor Tim Hughes, will receive $100,000 to develop an artificial intelligence-based algorithm to improve frontline therapy for CML patients while Health Policy Centre Director, Professor Caroline Miller, will use her $100,000 grant to examine the impact of policies aimed at reducing sugary drink consumption.
“Specifically, we’ll be looking at whether consumers are substituting sugary drinks with other beverages including water, fruit juice and drinks with artificial sweeteners,” Professor Miller said.
Eight other South Australian researchers were awarded grants in this round of Beat Cancer Project funding which totals almost $3 million.
Cancer Council SA established the Beat Cancer Project in 2011 as a collaboration with SAHMRI, SA Health, UniSA, the University of Adelaide and Flinders University. It provides the single biggest cancer research investment in South Australia outside of the Federal Government.
Dr Krzysztof Mrozik will use his Beat Cancer Early Career Research Fellowship to investigate novel drug delivery approaches for multiple myeloma patients.