New boost for cancer treatment funded

Thursday, 17 June 2004

University of Adelaide researchers have been awarded a federal grant to help develop a new method that aims to improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy for cancer patients.

Professor John Wallace and Dr Grant Booker from the School of Molecular & Biomedical Science have received a Development Grant of more than $154,000 from the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Development Grants encourage research with commercial potential, helping researchers to develop their work from the early 'proof of concept' stage into products that will ultimately benefit Australia and the world.

Professor Wallace and Dr Booker have been awarded one of only 14 Development Grants announced today by the Federal Government, and the only one in South Australia.

They are studying a protein that helps to prevent cancer cells' resistance to chemotherapy, thereby making the treatment more effective for patients. The protein works by attacking and removing growth factors that help cancer cells resist treatment.

In a commercial form, the new method would see injections of the protein given to patients at around the same time as they receive chemotherapy.

"Our aim is to achieve improved destruction of breast and colorectal cancers, but with reduced adverse side effects," Professor Wallace says.

"Laboratory work conducted by Dr Briony Forbes here in Adelaide suggests that the protein - which is a modified form of a natural carrier protein for these growth factors - is effective in reducing the growth factors' ability to assist cancer cells.

"This seems to be effective in breaking down cancer cells' resistance to chemotherapy, as well as generally preventing the spread of tumours," he says.

"The University of Adelaide has a very strong reputation in biomedical science, and this grant is another important step not just towards developing our research further but in attracting commercial funding, which is vital for clinical trials," he says.


Contact Details

Professor John Wallace
Group Leader
School of Molecular & Biomedical Science
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5218
Mobile: 0439 035 218

Dr Grant Booker
Head, Discipline of Biochemistry/Senior Lecturer
School of Molecular & Biomedical Science
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 3090
Mobile: 0421 640 274

Ms Robyn Mills
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762