To advance her work to improve infection outcomes in cancer patients, Professor Monica Slavin has received a $5 million Health Services Research Synergy grant from the NHRMC.

This is the first ever Synergy grant awarded to Peter Mac as the lead institute.

Professor Slavin and her team at the National Centre for Infections in Cancer at the Peter Mac have developed new surveillance methodology, clinical care and diagnostic pathways that are improving detection and treatment of all kinds of infections in cancer patients.

Infections occur in up to 90% of patients receiving treatment for certain types of cancer, and in some cases infection is the leading cause of early mortality. Gaps in the management of infection in cancer include lack of access to diagnostic tests and specialist care.

This Synergy grant will incorporate new technologies to deliver life-saving diagnosis and care for these vulnerable patients, on a national scale.

Professor Slavin is Head of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Peter Mac, Head of Infection in the Immunocompromised Host at Royal Melbourne Hospital, Professor in the Department of Infectious Diseases at The University of Melbourne and a world-renowned specialist in infections in the immunocompromised cancer patient.

“This Synergy Grant builds on our established collaborations and a cross-disciplinary research team already working together to improve infection outcomes at the PeterMac and deliver them on a national scale,” Professor Slavin says.

“We will harness new technologies to better understand infection risks and lead to more rapid detection and treatment of infection in cancer.

“We have developed life-saving clinical care pathways and will disseminate these widely using digital health platforms."

Synergy Grants provide $5 million funding over five years, and are allocated to outstanding multidisciplinary teams of investigators who work together to answer major questions that cannot be answered by a single investigator.

The broader team involved in this project includes Peter Mac’s Professor Karin Thursky, Associate Professor Leon Worth, Associate Professor Gabrielle Haeusler, Associate Professor Benjamin Teh, Associate Professor Jason Trubiano, Dr Michelle Yong, Associate Professor Kate Burbury, Dr Abby Douglas, Belinda Lambros, Associate Professor Jayesh Desai and Dr Olivia Smibert.

Also, Peter Mac’s Dr Enid Lam, Dr Piers Blombery and Professor Constantine Tam are in the broader team for another project - led by Professor Andrew Roberts from The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research - which received a Synergy Grant in this round.

This project will bring together experts in science and medicine to focus on blood cancers, which account for one-sixth of all cancer deaths. It will identify why patients with leukaemias and lymphomas become resistant to latest treatments, to help find new ways to prevent or overcome this resistance.

See all latest Synergy Grant recipients on the National Health and Medical Research Council website.

For more information contact the Peter Mac Communications team on 0417 123 048.

About Peter Mac

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre is a world-leading cancer research, education and treatment centre and Australia’s only public health service solely dedicated to caring for people affected by cancer.