Finding cures for children's genetic diseases


Four highly competitive grants secured by CMRI


Children’s Medical Research Institute has been awarded four highly-competitive National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants which will commence in 2019.

CMRI’s success rate of 57%, receiving four of seven grants it applied for, is substantially higher than the average of 17.3% across Australia for NHMRC applications.
CMRI research leaders, Professor Ian Alexander, Professor Phil Robinson, Associate Professor Hilda Pickett and Dr Leszek Lisowski were the recipients.

Prof Robinson received a four-year grant for a collaborative study conducted across CMRI, the University of Sydney, University of Newcastle and the University of Queensland, which will target the molecule dynamin to reverse resistance to immunotherapy in head and neck cancer. The work aims to capitalise on decades of prior research on dynamin to enable clinical trials in cancer patients.
Prof Alexander, whose research focusses on treating children born with genetic disease of the liver, has received a three-year grant for work toward improving the efficiency with which human cells can be targeted with tools to deliver genetic therapies. In parallel, Dr Lisowski was awarded for his research on developing strategies to manufacture clinical-grade viral vectors (i.e., gene delivery tools for gene therapy that can be used in clinical trials to treat children with serious inherited diseases).
A/Prof Pickett’s research will focus on factors that contribute to the integrity and function of telomeres (structures within cells that are implicated in human cancer).
“This is an excellent result in a very competitive funding environment”, said CMRI’s Director, Professor Roger Reddel. “NHMRC undertakes rigorous peer review of grant applications, and the funding it provides underpins the high quality of medical research in Australia.”
The total of $469 million in NHMRC funding announced today was spread across 510 different projects.