More than 150 of the region’s top researchers will come together in a new unit to develop more targeted treatments for cancer.
With $1.4 million from the Cancer Institute NSW over three years, the Hunter Translational Cancer Unit under the leadership of its Director, Professor Stephen Ackland, will bring together 150 cancer researchers from the University of Newcastle, Calvary Mater Newcastle, and the Hunter New England Local Health Network.
Professor Ackland said the Unit would focus on the critical connection between research and clinical care.
“Our main objective is to rapidly take information from the lab to the clinic and back again so that we can personalise cancer management,” Professor Ackland said.
“We will have two primary areas of focus. Firstly, to develop markers that indicate the molecular nature of a patient’s cancer and the likelihood of it responding to treatment; and secondly, to develop new drugs that latch onto these molecules and inhibit cancer growth.
“This approach will characterise cancers not by where they are in the body but their molecular composition.
“This is a significant advance in cancer management because it means patients will receive treatment and care specifically tailored to the composition of the tumour, rather than where it is in their body.”
The Hunter region is internationally recognised for its strengths in the study of genetics, proteins and health behaviour. The Hunter TCRU will allow researchers to deliver advanced approaches to assess patient risk using cutting-edge technologies in these fields.
“The support from the Cancer Institute NSW is a great boost to plans by the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI), the University, Hunter New England Local Health Network and Little Company of Mary to develop a state-of-the-art facility for cancer research, as well as brain and mental health research, on land adjacent to the Mater campus,” Professor Ackland said.
On completion, that facility will integrate research with the clinical services of the Calvary Mater Hospital.
Professor Ackland is the Director of Clinical Cancer Research at the Hunter New England Local Health Network, a Conjoint Professor at the University of Newcastle, and Co-Director of HMRI’s Cancer Research Program.
Contact information: Professor Stephen Ackland is available for interviews on 4921 1146 or 0408 492 868.
Media contact: Katie Porritt at the University of Newcastle on 02 4921 5120 or 0418 445 888.