Finding cures for children's genetic diseases


ProCan Moonshot


ProCan’s ‘Cancer Moonshot’ role boosted by the NSW Government


19 July, 2016: Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) has been awarded funding from the NSW Government for The ACRF International Centre for the Proteome of Cancer (ProCan™). It is part of a $6 million State commitment to ‘proteogenomics’, a field of research with enormous potential for tackling health issues, such as cancer. CMRI’s ProCan project was also included in an agreement with the United States Government, announced Sunday by the White House, which links ProCan to the ‘Cancer Moonshot’ initiative, led by Vice President Joe Biden.

“We’re very grateful for the funding from the NSW Government, which will make it possible for ProCan to participate more fully in the international efforts against cancer, especially in children and young adults,” said Professor Roger Reddel, Director of CMRI and co-leader of ProCan.

The goal of ProCan is to transform the way cancer is diagnosed and treated. Using specialised equipment funded by the Australian Cancer Research Foundation in December 2015, ProCan will analyse about 70,000 cancer samples from all over the world over the next 5-7 years. This will enable a better understanding of cancer, as well as provide a means of personalised, precision diagnosis and treatment, giving clinicians the tools they need to decide on the best option for each individual patient.

The Australian Cancer Research Foundation and its supporters are very proud to have provided the $10 million grant that facilitated the purchase of the equipment essential to the initiation of this ambitious international program, which will be immensely strengthened by the collaboration announced by the US Vice President J Biden with United States researchers and clinicians,” says Dr Ian Brown, Chief Executive, Australian Cancer Research Foundation.

The injection of additional funds from the NSW state government will help provide crucial ‘big data’ analysis infrastructure and expertise to enable ProCan to achieve its goals, which also include facilitating collaboration and open access to research results in order to boost cancer research efforts worldwide.

The NSW funding comes as the USA established a collaboration between its Cancer Moonshot Program and ProCan, as well as NSW State Government and other NSW organisations, to accelerate research into cancer. As stated in a White House fact sheet: “The purpose of these MOUs is to facilitate scientific and programmatic collaborations between research agencies and institutions in the United States and Australia for basic and clinical proteogenomic studies and their translation to care.”

Scheduled to officially open on Friday, 16th September, 2016, construction of the ProCan facility at CMRI is complete. As the official opening date approaches, CMRI researchers have been developing standard operating procedures, which are crucial to ensure highly consistent data over the next 7 years.
“We have high reproducibility between machines, we’re collecting thousands of samples to analyse, and everything will be ready when we launch this journey towards revolutionising cancer treatment in September,” said Professor Phil Robinson, co-leader of ProCan.

As CMRI prepares to launch ProCan, it also prepares for its largest fundraising campaign, Jeans for Genes® Day, taking over Australia on Friday, 5th August. Groups across the country have been busy fundraising in the lead up to the campaign, and funds raised helps scientists at CMRI conduct research, including the ProCan project, into cures for childhood diseases.