Peter Mac News


Tackling cancer with data-fuelled research

2 min read 10 May 2024

Screenshot 2024 05 10 at 1.26.26 pm

A national database to bring together real-world cancer information that fuels new research projects was launched today at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

The creation of the National Cancer Cohort Platform has been supported with a $3 million Medical Research Future Fund grant.

Lead Professor Karin Thursky, who has been building digital health platforms for more than 20 years, said the National Cancer Cohort Platform would provide access to a wealth of clinical data, biospecimens and familial pedigrees.

Other researchers will then be able to access the deidentified data, to help them progress their research projects.

A cohort study recruits and follow participants who share a common characteristic. They are longitudinal, following participants over an extended period of time.

The National Cancer Cohort Platform will initially bring together five cohort studies, kConFab, Melanoma Research Victoria, the Australian Ovarian Cancer Study, the Variants in Practice study and Lifepool, a genetic study that aims to understand how and why breast, ovarian and other gynaecological cancers occur.

Speaking at the Launch, Peter Mac Executive Director Professor Ricky Johnstone said the participating cohort studies were a “somewhat unappreciated treasure” and a “rich resource”.
Between them, the cohort studies have nearly 100,000 participants.

The National Cancer Cohort Platform will be developed and operationalised over the coming four years, using the proven platforms developed by not-for-profit BioGrid, along with bespoke software.

Appearing at the launch virtually, consumer advocate and investigator on the grant, Sophy Athan said she was excited to participate in the development of the National Cancer Cohort Platform.

The culture of research had changed, she said, and now “consumers are an integral part of research”.

To learn more about the National Cancer Cohort Platform project, visit