Translational Cancer Research

While much progress has been made in the discovery of new cancer treatments, cancer is still a leading cause of death in Australia.

A major challenge faced by medical researchers is that many new drugs that show promise in the laboratory aren’t as effective when tested in clinical trials. A fundamental reason for this, is the difficulty to accurately predict how new drugs will respond in humans.

Recent advances in cancer research suggest that our immune system can be harnessed to fight cancer and new treatments that direct our immune system to attack cancer cells are showing great promise. Understanding how cancer cells develop to evade our immune system and, how we can harness our own immune system to kill cancer cells, will be crucial in developing new and effective cancer treatments. 

Using funds from the MACA Cancer 200, the Perkins Cancer and Cell Biology Division has established a translational cancer research program. Its goal is to accurately model the human immune system to test and evaluate i) new treatments developed in the laboratory, or ii) new combinations of existing treatments.

Within the Cancer and Cell Biology Division at the Perkins there are several laboratories undertaking innovative research to develop new treatments for different cancers including liver cancer, breast and ovarian cancer, head and neck cancer, brain cancer, prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer. In addition, the Perkins Systems Biology and Genomics laboratory is analysing huge amounts of existing cancer data using state-of-the-art software tools to identify new targets that will guide the repurposing of existing cancer drugs and also the new application of combined drugs.

Evaluating these new treatments in our pre-clinical models will speed up the process of getting effective new treatments into the clinic. 

Translational cancer research

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