Cancer Genomics Program
Cancer Genomics Program - Research at Peter Mac
|Using sophisticated high-throughput genomic technologies to improve our understanding of the biology of cancer.|
|The Cancer Genomics program is located in the Ian Potter Foundation Centre for Cancer Genomics and Predictive Medicine and seeks to use sophisticated high throughput genomic technologies to improve our understanding of the biology of cancer and to progress the clinical management of cancer patients through the development of individualized approaches to treatment. Research in the program focuses primarily on breast, upper gastrointestinal and ovarian cancers and sarcoma, and involves some of the largest familial and population-based cancer cohorts in the world. These studies address questions of general importance to solid cancers, including inherited susceptibility to cancer and genome-wide changes in gene expression, as well as more specific questions such as prediction of response to therapy and the use of gene expression profiling for accurate cancer diagnosis.|
Professor David Bowtell’s laboratory focuses on signalling in the ras pathway, primarily the biology of Siah, a family of ubiquitin E3 ligases and has also recently established several large scale molecular genetics studies in ovarian and gastric cancer. Professor Bowtell is Principal Investigator for the Australian Ovarian Cancer Study, a national molecular epidemiological study of ovarian cancer, creating the largest linked biospecimen/clinical database in the world for ovarian cancer. His laboratory also interfaces with the recently formed Asia-Pacific Gastric Cancer Consortium, which includes participants from China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia.
Assoc. Professor Ian Campbell’s laboratory is a member of the Victorian Breast Cancer Research Consortium (VBCRC), a Victorian State Government initiative to develop a coordinated research effort into understanding the basis of breast cancer. The underlying tenet of his laboratory is that cancer is a genetic disease and consequently the aberrant behaviour of cancer cells can largely be attributed to the underlying germline, somatic and epigenetic mutations. The group’s experience in genetic studies of solid tumours, particularly loss of heterozygosity, somatic mutation and promoter methylation analyses, is being applied to the identification of genes involved in the predisposition, initiation and progression of breast and ovarian cancer.
The Surgical Oncology Laboratory, headed by Assoc. Professor Wayne Phillips, is focused on using molecular and cellular approaches to understand the development, progression and treatment of gastrointestinal cancers. The group is using cDNA microarrays and novel in vivo 3-D cell culture models to address key issues in the molecular and cellular pathogenesis of Barrett’s oesophagus, a pre-malignant condition that predisposes to oesophageal adenocarcinoma. Assoc. Professor Phillips also has a long-standing interest in the role of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) signalling pathway in the development and progression of human tumours.
Dr. David Thomas, a medical oncologist and clinician-researcher, heads the Sarcoma Research Laboratory. This laboratory applies broad genomic and transcriptional profiling techniques to develop molecular and prognostic classifications for sarcomas, and to develop biologic insights into the causes of sarcoma. These insights form the basis for cellular and molecular investigations into the role of specific genes and cellular processes, and how these may be exploited therapeutically.
The program is also home to kConFab, an internationally-recognised, large-scale national molecular and epidemiological study of families at high risk of breast cancer. Coordinated by Professor Joseph Sambrook and Dr. Georgia Chenevix-Trench (Queensland Institute for Medical Research), together with Ms Heather Thorne, kConFab brings together geneticists, clinicians, surgeons, genetic counsellors, psychosocial researchers, pathologists and epidemiologists from all over Australia and New Zealand in a concerted national effort to understand the causes and consequences of familial predisposition to breast cancer, at both the basic and clinical level.
The Cancer Genomics and Genetics program also houses key infrastructure components including the Peter Mac Tissue Bank and the Peter Mac Microarray Facility.