Peter Mac News


Peter Mac awarded $3 million MRFF genomics grant

01 July 2024

Peter Mac has received a significant Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) grant close to $3 million to harness the next generation of liquid biopsy assays for clinical translation in breast cancer.

The funding is one of two MRFF grants received by Peter Mac worth a total of nearly $6 million.

Professor Sarah-Jane Dawson said the research project related to breast cancer aims to use blood samples, known as a liquid biopsies, to detect cancer at earlier stages and monitor the disease more effectively to improve outcomes.

If detected in the early stages, the five-year survival rate from breast cancer is on average 95 to 100 per cent but as low as 32 per cent for stage four metastatic breast cancer, meaning early diagnosis and improved monitoring are key.

“Our aim is to use liquid biopsies to also assist in monitoring treatment responses and to identify residual disease following treatment that may indicate a future risk of relapse,” Professor Dawson said.

“The funding will allow us to focus on the development, validation and implementation of the next generation of liquid biopsy assays to improve clinical care for patients with breast cancer.

“This research will also benefit those living in remote and regional areas to enable precision medicine guided care across all of Australia regardless of your treatment centre.”

Other Peter Mac researchers involved in this project include Dr Dineika Chandrananda, Professor Sherene Loi, Professor Geoffrey Lindeman and Associate Professor Shom Goel. Dr Nicholas Zdenkowski from the University of Newcastle will also collaborate on the project.

Peter Mac will also be heavily involved in another successful MRFF genomics grant that will be led by Associate Professor Elaine Sanij from St Vincent's Hospital.

The project will use liquid biopsy in multiple myeloma to monitor disease progression and response to treatment.

Peter Mac researchers collaborating with Associate Professor Sanji are Dr Anna Trigos, Professor Paul Neeson, Professor Ricky Johnstone, Associate Professor Amit Khot, Associate Professor Piers Blombery, Professor Simon Harrison, Ms Hayley Beer, Professor Alicia Oshlack and Professor Kaylene Simpson.

Associate Professor Hilmy Ismail also received a MRFF grant is leading a project investigating the use of AI to predict and reduce complications after surgery.

The Australian Government’s MRFF fund is an ongoing research fund supporting Australian health and medical research.