Establishing a world-class cancer research facility

Thanks to a $2.5 million grant from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) in 2010, IMB established the ACRF Cancer Biology Imaging Facility.

This facility - the most advanced imaging research facility in the Southern Hemisphere – enables our world-renowned researchers to gain a detailed understanding of the molecules and mechanisms associated with the transformation of a healthy cell to a cancerous cell, and the invasion of cancerous cells through the body.

This is the key to understanding, and ultimately treating, cancer. With cancer facing one in three people, this vital research stands to make a huge impact.

Working towards an increase in brain cancer five-year survival rate

The John Trivett Senior Research Fellow in Brain Cancer is funded by the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, the largest fundraising body for brain cancer research in Australia with the mission to accelerate new treatments for brain cancer patients and increase five-year survival to 50 per cent within 10 years.

The fellowship is supporting the creation and implementation of a collaborative, international and multi-disciplinary brain cancer research community. Both IMB and Cure Brain Cancer Foundation recognise that to solve a complex problem like brain cancer things need to be done differently; with lateral thinking to find smarter solutions that allow breakthroughs to be made much faster than traditional research methods allow.

The John Trivett Senior Research Fellow in Brain Cancer was named in honour of John Trivett, a prominent Queensland entrepreneur and philanthropist, who succumbed to brain cancer in 1997. 

Medicine may grow on trees

Growing medicines in plants

Through a $1 million grant, the Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Foundations, administered by trustee Perpetual, funded a new state-of-the-art facility at IMB to accelerate Professor David Craik's revolutionary research to turn plants into 'biofactories' that will inexpensively produce medicines for everything from HIV to chronic pain. This work could have huge impacts in the third world, where many regions are devastated by diseases such as HIV/AIDS because although effective drugs exist, they are too expensive to access. The Ramaciotti Foundations support biomedical research that improves the health and wellbeing of people worldwide, which is what IMB is all about.

Revolutionising epilepsy treatment

Dravet syndrome is a catastrophic childhood epilepsy characterised by severe drug-resistant seizures, intellectual disability, autistic traits, movement disorders and increased risk of sudden death. Thanks to funding from the US-based Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE), IMB researchers are developing new, personalised therapies that will help control seizures and improve the lives of affected children. CURE's motivation is to fund research that will find a cure for epilepsy - something we are passionate about here at IMB.

Global Quest to Beat Superbugs

Crowdsourcing the search for new antibiotics

The World Health Organization has declared superbugs the world's biggest health challenge. If we do nothing, by 2030 multidrug-resistant bacteria, or superbugs, will claim the lives of 16,000 Australians each year. Thanks to a generous $3.1 million grant from the Wellcome Trust and UQ, we are fighting back against superbugs by establishing the Community for Open Antimicrobial Drug Discovery (CO-ADD). This world-first initiative offers a free screening service for the world's chemists to test their compounds against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

With over 150 collaborators from 35 countries contributing 120,000 compounds for testing, CO-ADD is making a significant contribution to finding solutions for this urgent crisis. Your contribution can help find the next antibiotic.

New Disease Identified

Cracking the genetic code for rare diseases

Stephen and Sally Damiani's inspirational quest to find a diagnosis for their son Massimo's mystery disease led them to IMB, where our researchers used genomic sequencing to diagnose young Massimo with a congenital disease previously unknown to medicine. Now, the Damiani family is giving back, providing an annual gift through the Mission Massimo Foundation to extend IMB's ground-breaking genetic research into rare and complex diseases, specifically white matter disorders.

Developing tailor-made treatments for childhood brain cancer

In Australia, approximately 200 new cases of childhood brain and spinal tumours are diagnosed each year, and brain tumours remain the most common cause of cancer-related death in childhood. More effective and less traumatic treatments may become a reality for these children thanks to an $80,000 donation from the Brainchild Foundation. The funds are supporting a unique IMB-led brain tumour project, which aims to grow tumour tissue so we can analyse the genetic make-up of a child’s tumour, individualise treatments, and test their effectiveness on the tissue before giving that treatment to a patient. Current therapies take a one-size-fits-all approach. The prospect of personalised treatments is incredibly exciting; it would benefit patients and revolutionise treatments world-wide.

Professor Kirill Alexandrov puts a spotlight on breast cancer research

Diagnosing cancer early with a smartphone app

Early diagnosis of cancer is essential for successful treatment. Thanks to funding from the National Breast Cancer Foundation and Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, we are developing an affordable and portable cancer diagnostic test on a microchip that can be plugged into a smartphone. Just one drop of blood or saliva onto the microchip is all that is needed to screen for cancer warning signs. This IMB innovation will allow rapid and in-depth monitoring for patients, while keeping their doctors informed.

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