Peter Mac’s Professor Joe Trapani, has been appointed head of a major new laboratory focused on immunotherapy. Prof Trapani is Director of the new Centre for Cancer Immunotherapy, which is a partnership between Peter Mac, the VCCC and University of Melbourne and is scheduled to open later this year.

The Centre’s vision is that, within five years, Victorian patients with all types of advanced cancer will have access to a clinical trial with an appropriate immune-based cancer therapy.

“This is an incredibly exciting time in cancer research,” says Prof Trapani.

“The outlook for cancer patients is improving dramatically, and this is partly due to a whole new approach to treating cancer which stimulates a patient’s own immune system to rid them of their cancer.

“As inaugural director of this new centre I am very much looking forward to setting up an intensely collaborative research effort that will involve all 10 partners in the VCCC alliance, with particular input and support from the University of Melbourne and Peter Mac.

“Together we have an opportunity to significantly improve outcomes for cancer patients in Victoria and beyond.”

Prof Trapani was Peter Mac’s Executive Director Cancer Research from 2009 until 2018.

He has also led Peter Mac’s Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program for more than 18 years, which has put Peter Mac at the fore of immunotherapy research and its translation to the clinic.

Prof Trapani was appointed to his new Director role after an extensive local and international search. 

Victorian Minister for Health, The Hon Jill Hennessy, today congratulated Professor Trapani on his appointment to the new role.

“Harnessing the body’s own immune system is the next frontier in cancer therapy,” Ms Hennessy says.

“The Centre for Cancer Immunotherapy will provide crucial patient access to clinical trials in this rapidly evolving area of research.”

The Centre for Cancer Immunotherapy will be a new laboratory space for up to 100 cancer researchers on Level 13 of the VCCC building, within the Ian Potter Centre for New Cancer Treatments.