Recent University of Sydney Cancer Research Fund grant outcomes


More than $850,000 of philanthropic funding from the Cancer Research Fund has been awarded to academics in six faculties to support new multi-faculty projects in cancer research:

Dr Kellie Charles
Medical Sciences, Sydney Medical School
The Sydney 1000 Cancer Project – Stage 1 Gastrointestinal Cancers Immunophenotyping Study - $175,000

Dr Anne Cust
Sydney School of Public Health
Translating our knowledge of genomics to improve skin cancer prevention: A pilot randomised controlled trial to evaluate whether knowledge of personal genetic risk of melanoma motivates behaviour change - $93,290

Dr Haryana Dhillon
Sydney Medical School & Faculty of Science
Cognitive ageing in cancer populations: a cohort study extension in colorectal cancer survivors - $154,546

Dr Kristina Kairaitis
Westmead Millennium Institute
Determining sleep phenotypes in cancer cohorts: interactions with cancer biology and impacts on quality of life - $155,438

A/Prof Geraldine O’Neill
Kids Research Institute
Cancer invasion and metastasis: how actin networks control cell movement in 3-dimensional environments - $135,717

Prof Sallie Pearson
Faculty of Pharmacy
Low value medical services and prescribing practices in cancer care: Towards a comprehensive framework for quantifying waste in Australia and beyond - $149,639


In October 2013, the University announced the beginning of the process of Health and Medical Research (HMR+) Review Implementation funding to the four nascent SPARCs (Strategic Priority Areas for Collaboration (SPARC): Obesity Diabetes Cardiovascular Disease (ODCD), Infectious Disease, Mental Health and Neuroscience, and Cancer.

Round 1 was restricted to researchers in the following independent medical research institutes (ANZAC, CMRI, Centenary, George, HRI, Woolcock, WMI) and awards were made from both the MRI SPARC Fund (total $410,000 for cancer-related projects) and from the University of Sydney Cancer Research Fund (total $505k).

Congratulations to the seven research teams that received funding for Cancer SPARC projects in Round 1:

Professor David Le Couteur
ANZAC Research Institute, Concord Hospital, Sydney Medical School, (ODCD and Cancer)
Nutrition, ageing and health - $130,000

Dr Jeff Holst
Centenary Institute, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney Medical School (Cancer)
Nutrient transporters: Elucidating and targeting their functions in cancer - $130,000

Professor Roger Reddel
Children’s Medical Research Institute, Sydney Medical School (Cancer)
Telomere length analysis for assessing risk of melanoma, other cancers and chronic diseases - $150,000

Professor Derek Hart
ANZAC Research Institute, Concord Hospital, Sydney Medical School (Cancer)
Moving a novel therapeutic monoclonal antibody strategy into clinical practice - $130,000

Professor Bruce Neal
George Institute for Global Health, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney Medical School (ODCD and Cancer)
Regulatory strategies for the prevention of diet-and-alcohol-related diseases - $130,000

Professor David Gottlieb
Westmead Millennium Institute, Westmead Hospital, Sydney Medical School (Cancer)
Cellular therapy for HPV associated cancers and pre-cancers - $115,000

Dr Sarah-Jane Schramm
Westmead Millennium Institute, Sydney Medical School, School of Mathematics and Statistics (Cancer)
Enhancing Multi-Disciplinary Team decision making through knowledge transfer - $130,000


Infrastructure Grants
Outcomes of the inaugural (2011) University of Sydney Cancer Research Fund (USCRF) Research Infrastructure Grants were announced on 15 February 2012 by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Prof Jill Trewhella.

These grants were created to provide funding for key research platforms, core equipment and capacities that enhance the cancer research effort of the University. The grants were open to members of the University of Sydney Cancer Research Network (CRN) and assessed by a multi-Faculty panel independent of the Network.

Chair of the CRN, Prof Graham Mann, in congratulating the successful applicants commented: “it is very satisfying to see the funds that the University receives from donors for its cancer research effort being mobilised in such a strategic way. These enhancements to our infrastructure will underpin high-quality research in three of our principal cancer research precincts.”

The successful USCRF Research Infrastructure Grant applicants and the equipment that the University of Sydney will be investing in include:

Professor Robert Baxter from the Kolling Institute for a MALDI-TOF/TOF MS.
The MALDI MS is rapidly emerging internationally as a novel tissue imaging technique with the capability of simultaneously localising multiple protein markers in a single tissue section (also termed "molecular histology"). It is a key component in the search for new proteins that could be used for cancer diagnosis and prognosis, or as possible targets for therapy. The new mass spectrometer detects and identifies hundreds or thousands of proteins simultaneously in tissue samples (like other mass spectrometers), but has the additional unique feature that it also identifies the location of each protein within cancer tissue. This will aid in the development of new ways of diagnosing cancers and predicting their response to treatment, as well as in the development of new methods of treatment. This technology is currently unavailable to cancer researchers at the University of Sydney.

A/Prof Helen Rizos from Westmead Institute for Cancer Research/ Westmead Millennium Institute for a Essen BioScience IncuCyte Live-Cell Imaging System.
The IncuCyte is a compact automated microscope that resides inside a standard tissue culture incubator that can help study the fundamentals of malignancy and can measure the effects of various agents on cell growth, viability, migration, and invasion, including morphological changes at the cellular level, in real time.

Professor Des Richardson from the Bosch Institute/School of Medical Sciences, also for a IncuCyte FLR Imaging system.
The IncuCyte is a compact automated digital imaging system that resides inside a standard tissue culture incubator that can help study the fundamentals of malignancy and can measure the effects of various agents on cell growth, viability, migration, and invasion, including morphological changes at the cellular level, in real time. Continuous monitoring of these cell changes are crucial for dissecting the mechanisms of metastasis and other process in depth.

These live-cell imaging systems are fundamental tools for modern cancer cell biology research and are required close to the laboratories of research teams using them. The two grants enhance access to this technology for the major concentrations of cancer researchers at the Camperdown and Westmead campuses.


‘Near-miss’ funding for Cancer Institute NSW Research Innovation Grants

Clifton – Bligh R
Medicine, Northern Clinical School
Translating molecular markers to clinical practice in thyroid cancer

Friedlander M
Study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of intraperitoneal bevacizumab in patients with advanced platinum refractory or resistant ovarian cancer and symptomatic ascites

Soon P
Medicine, Northern Clinical School
The role of cancer-associated fibroblasts in epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition

Weninger W
Medicine, Dermatology, Central Clinical School
Visualising cell cycle dynamics of tumour associated antigen specific T cells in real time in vivo


‘Near-miss’ funding for Cancer Institute NSW Research Innovation Grants

Jollife K
Science, Chemistry
Bim replacement as a therapeutic strategy to overcome glucocorticoid resistance in the treatment of paediatric acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

Butow P
Science, Psychology
The cancer journey in regional and rural Australia: A consumer perspective

Richardson D
Medicine, Medical Sciences
Integration of oncogenic and tumour suppressive pathways in prostate cancer and investaigation of their potential roles in treatment


‘Near-miss’ funding for Cancer Institute NSW Research Innovation Grants

Byrne J
Medicine, Children's Hospital Westmead
Increased tumor protein D52 expression as a marker of breast cancer predispoition, and a possible role in DNA repair

Dhillon H
Medicine, Central Clinical School
Educating patients about chemotherapy and side-effects: What do nurses say?

Mackay J
Science, MMB
Chracterisation of the cancer-related nucleosome remodelling and deacetylese complex

Marsh D
Medicine, Kolling Institute, Northern Clinical School
Relationships between miRNA and the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/mammamlian target of rapamycin pathway in ovarian cancer

Soon P
Medicine, Kolling Institute, Northern Clinical School
The role of microRNAs and EGFR in chemoresistance in breats cancer-associated fibroblasts

Vardy J
Medicine, Central Clinical School
Developing an animal model to study the long-term impact of chemotherapy on cognition, mood, pain and general health

Winstanley J
Central Clinical School
Improving Quality of Life measurement for melanoma patients: Validity and reliability study of QoL instruments in a NSW population


Balleine R
Medicine, Westmead Institute for Cancer Research
Tracing the origin of variable malignant potential in breast cancer

Byrne S
Medicine, Central Clinical School
The role of sunlight-induced regulatory B cells in the suppression of anti-tumour immune responses

Crosbie J
Health Sciences, Physiotherapy
Impact of mastectomy or breast reconstruction on upper quadrant function following breast cancer

Firth S
Medicine, Kolling Institute of Medical Research
Novel interactions of IGFBP-3 with extracullular matrix components: Functional characterisation of the interactions in breast cancer

Hammond K
Medicine, Central Clinical School
The role of iNKT cells in ultraviolet radiation-induced immunosuppression

Mullan B
Science, Psychology
Brain-body interaction: Randomised control trial of physical activity (medical qigong) for cancer patients

Seibel M
Medicine, Anzac Research Institute
Bone and tumour necrosis following anti-resorptive treatment

Simanainen U
Medicine, Anzac Research Institute
The role of androgens in prostate physiology and pathology

Sutak R
Medicine, Pathology
Molecular examination of the role of iron in oestrogen-dependent and-independent growth of breast cancer cells

Thordarson P
Science, Chemistry
Self-assembled hydrogels for local cancer drug delivery

Wiley P
Medicine, Nepean Clinical School
Susceptibility to chronic lymphocytic leukemia in an extended family pedigree

Young J
Medicine, Surgical Outcomes Research Centre
From theory to practice: Implementing patient decision support tools into everyday clinical practice


Dong Q
Medicine, Central Clinical School
Establishment of technical protocols for isolation of prostate stem cells

Rose B
Medicine, Central Clinical School
Investigations of microRNAs in Head and Neck Cancer

Robinson B
Medicine, Northern Clinical School
Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres and Outcome of Glioblastoma Multiforme

Lovejoy D
Medicine, Pathology
The role of the differentiation-related gene-1 (Drg-1) in human prostate cancer metastasis and growth and its potential as a therapeutic target

Huxley R
Medicine, Central Clinical School (The George Institute)
Exploration of the impact of smoking and physiological risk factors on cancer mortality in populations of the Asia-Pacific Region

Balleine RL
Medicine, Western Clinical School (Westmead Institute for Cancer Research)
Breast cancer subtypes and progesterone receptor isoform expression

Kefford RF
Medicine, Western Clinical School (Westmead Institute for Cancer Research)
Tumour suppressive co-operation by the chromatin remodelling factor BRG1 and p16INK4a

Identification and characterisation of cancer stem cells in myeloma

Coster MJ
Science, Chemistry
Synthesis and biological evaluation of new anti-mitotic anti-cancer compounds based on a highly cytotoxic natural product

Rendina LM
Science, Chemistry
Tumour specific boronated peptides as a new class of agents for boron neutron capture therapy

Todd MH
Science, Chemistry
A New Class of DNA-cleaving Artificial Enzymes

Braet FC
Science, Electron Microscope Unit
Apoptosis-inducing anti-actin drugs: a potential approach for suppressing the onset of hepatic metastasis

Crossley M
Science, Molecular and Microbial Biosciences
The role of transcription factors in lineage commitment

Butow PN
Science, Psychology
Predicting bereavement outcomes in caregivers of women with ovarian cancer