New collaboration focuses on cancer prevention, diagnosis and therapy

La Trobe is thrilled to announce three new cancer research projects, funded through a new international collaboration. The projects focus on cancer prevention, diagnosis and therapy.

The new collaborative research program was developed by the Research Centre for Molecular Cancer Prevention at La Trobe, in partnership with the Cancer Biology Research Center (CBRC) at Tel Aviv University and the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute. The collaboration between the three institutions developed from a workshop in which scientists from the institutions identified areas where complementary research could drive significant breakthroughs in cancer prevention, diagnosis and therapy.

The innovative research projects address issues that impact the lives of cancer patients in Australia, Israel and the rest of the world. The projects are:

Investigating the role of p53 in metastatic organotropism of breast cancer using optical barcoding

This project will investigate new molecular markers for breast cancer to help predict the risk of brain metastasis and provide new avenues for breast cancer therapy

  • Dr Delphine Merino, Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute Adjunct, School of Cancer Medicine at La Trobe University
  • Dr Uri Ben-David, Sackler Faculty of Medicine Tel-Aviv University.
A new strategy of targeting c-MYC for treating familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)

This project will test a combination of two clinically-approved drugs as a new cancer prevention strategy for families with higher genetic risk of colon cancer.

Reprogramming the tumour microenvironment of glioblastoma to improve response to chemotherapy

This project will develop a new combination therapy for glioblastoma that uses a novel drug that alters immune function in the tissue surrounding the tumour to make it more responsive to chemotherapy.

La Trobe Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Industry Engagement) Professor Susan Dodds said the research will resonate with the health sector as well as those who are facing cancer.

“La Trobe researchers are focused on improving lives and health outcomes of people around the world. This collaboration enables our experts to work with other researchers to advance their understanding and develop treatments and therapies for cancer. The three projects which have been chosen will have a positive impact on the many individuals and families who are affected by cancer.”

Professor Dan Peer, Vice President for Research and Development at Tel Aviv University is pleased at the new partnership.

“Tel Aviv University has a long-standing commitment for identifying novel biomarkers, improve cancer diagnostics and generate novel therapeutic modalities to treat cancer. It is a pleasure to strengthen our relationship with La Trobe University and the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute in Melbourne”

Professor Matthias Ernst, Director of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute agreed.

“Funding initiatives like this one provide a fantastic opportunities for our brightest scientists across two continents to bring together their talents to address issues which ultimately impact on how we can treat cancer patients better.”

Ron Gerstenfeld, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Israel, Canberra, said, “The Embassy is delighted to take part in this significant initiative, bringing together exceptional scientists from both Australia and Israel and promoting new avenues for cancer research. Collaborations like this are only one example of the great potential of cooperation between our countries and the important contributions they have not only on a local, but also a global scale.”