$2 million in cancer research grants awarded in Queensland

Cancer Council Queensland have today announced they will invest $2 million in cancer research projects across the state over the next two years.

Ten Queensland research teams have been named as the charity’s 2019-2020 research grant recipients and will receive $200,000 toward their projects.

To help improve treatment options and quality of life for cancer patients the research grants will be invested in projects that examine brain cancer cells, cancer vaccines, multi-cancer risk genes, immunotherapy, cell death, drug resistance, bowel polyps, and more


Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said more Queenslanders were surviving cancer than any other time in history, thanks to advances in cancer research and treatment options.

“Investment in innovative, ground-breaking research in Queensland is vital for improving survival rates for all types of cancer,” Ms McMillan said.

“Cancer Council Queensland proudly funds more cancer research than any other independent community-based charity in the state.

“Congratulations to our grant recipients from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, The University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology.

“We are excited to see the outcomes of these research grants, which are giving hope to the one in two Queenslanders who are diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime and their loved ones.”

Among the grant recipients is Associate Professor Vicki Whitehall, from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, who hopes her work will one day reduce the number of people who are diagnosed with bowel cancer and lose their lives to the disease.

“The focus of this project is a particular type of polyp, called a ‘sessile serrated adenoma’, which we have proved accounts for at least 20 per cent of all bowel cancers,” Professor Whitehall said.

“We will investigate gene changes to predict which of these polyps have potential to progress to cancer, which will inform surveillance guidelines.

Associate Professor Whitehall said her work would not be possible without philanthropic support.

Fellow grant recipient and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute researcher, Professor Mark Smyth, agreed on the importance of continued research funding.

“Cancer Council Queensland’s support is critical to support researchers with a two-year position and to provide an opportunity to undertake cutting-edge, translational research that can greatly benefit patients,” Professor Smyth said.

“Cancer research in Queensland is in desperate need for greater funding and Cancer Council Queensland plays an integral part of the mechanism to achieve a more vibrant and contributing cancer research sector in Queensland.”

Professor Smyth’s research is in cancer immunotherapy. He was amongst the first to show that the immune system interacts with cancer and affects cancer development.

This research grant funding will assist in a pre-clinical project, helping bring new cancer immunotherapies to the clinic.

“Immunotherapy is emerging as an alternative to standard anti-cancer therapies, but many patients still do not benefit from these immunotherapies,” Professor Smyth said.

A full list of Cancer Council Queensland’s 2019-2020 research grants is available online at cancerqld.org.au.