The world-first ProCan® project, established with a major grant from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation, has now been awarded a grant by the Cancer Council at its annual Research Awards held at Barangaroo last night (March 27).
Children’s Medical Research Institute Director, Professor Roger Reddel, who is co-director of ACRF-ProCan with Professor Phil Robinson, was presented with the award during the ceremony by Cancer Council chairman Mark Phillips.
“We thank Cancer Council for enabling major technological advances that will benefit patients, and we are very grateful to all of the wonderful donors and supporters who have made this possible,’’ Prof Reddel said.
ProCan will analyse and measure thousands of proteins simultaneously in cancers, and use advanced computational techniques to learn how to predict the most effective treatments for individual cancers. To make this ground-breaking bank of information accessible to other researchers and clinicians, the ProCan team needs to build a highly sophisticated online database.
The grant is a vital contribution to the very expensive project, which costs around $5m annually to operate.
With this funding from Cancer Council NSW, Professor Reddel and his team will now be able to create an online platform to handle the vast amounts of data produced by ProCan, and enable it to be shared for research and clinical purposes. This database will enable the transformation of raw data into a format that can be provided initially to data scientists and ultimately to clinicians for direct benefit for patients.
“We are developing new technology to measure thousands of different key molecules in cancers to make it easier to find the best treatment for each individual patient,’’ Prof Reddel said.
“Cancer Council's support will enable our team of software engineers and data scientists to share the data we generate with other cancer researchers and clinicians.’’
The expectation is that the technology will be used in the clinic within five to seven years at which time a tumour sample will be sent to a laboratory and the results returned within 36 hours providing information about the most effective known treatments for that person.
Cancer Council awarded a total of $10.6 million to 17 outstanding cancer research projects across NSW. The grants help fund future breakthroughs in cancer research – the awarded research teams are leading the charge towards a cancer free future by investigating new ways to treat the disease.
“We are excited to announce a round of extraordinary projects – all 17 recipients are extraordinary scientists who do essential and highly innovative work,” said Dr Jane Hobson, Research Grants Manager at Cancer Council NSW.