Funding wins to further cancer treatment research

Two Flinders University medical researchers have been successfully awarded over half a million dollars from Cancer Australia and the National Health and Medical Research Council, ensuring vital assistance for their work into targeted cancer treatments.

Dr Lauren Thurgood and Associate Professor Luke Selth from Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute will receive funding from Cancer Australia’s Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme, designed to support research that reduces the impact of cancer on the community and improves outcomes for people affected by cancer.

Dr Thurgood was awarded $199,682.60 for her project ‘Non-canonical PI3K targeting – novel therapies to exploit the lipid dependency of CLL’.

Patients with the most common form of leukaemia, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), are developing resistance to current therapies. One target has showed promise in clinical trials, an intracellular protein that regulates a number of pathways which promote the growth of the CLL cells. However, targeting this protein has proved to be incredibly toxic. The team have discovered a new way to target this protein that may limit the toxicity and be a highly effective novel therapy in CLL.

Associate Professor Selth will receive $549,583.40 for his project ‘A novel hormonal therapy to treat lethal prostate cancer’.

With prostate cancer killing over 3,000 men a year in Australia, the project will focus on neuroendocrine prostate cancer, a specific subtype of the disease that is particularly aggressive and kills a disproportionate number of patients. The study will test whether a new type of hormone therapy is an effective treatment for neuroendocrine prostate cancer and determine which patients would benefit most from it.

Dr Lauren Thurgood and Associate Professor Luke Selth

Flinders University Deputy Vice–Chancellor (Research) Professor Raymond Chan extended his congratulations to the researchers and said the funding success showed Flinders was undertaking research with the potential to improve lives.

“As we look to launch our state-of-the-art Health and Medical Research Building later this year, it’s emboldening to see our researchers continue to be awarded these grants that are so vital to their efforts in tackling these health challenges,” says Professor Chan.

“In HMRB we are making a landmark investment, and at the same time we have seen our research funding grow by 140 percent in the last five years, allowing our exceptionally talented researchers the best opportunity to make real-world change.”

The Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme is managed by Cancer Australia and the agency collaborates with NHMRC in the grant scheme. NHMRC facilitates registration and initial assessment of applications, and endorses grants funded through this scheme in recognition of their scientific merit.

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College of Medicine and Public Health FHMRI Cancer Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute Research