Dialog Box

Our Collaborative Research Projects

The OCRF continues to explore different synergies amongst our peer organisations to support relevant research and increase funding opportunities into ovarian cancer.

New collaborations with these cancer research peers have led to the awarding of several successful joint grants. These joint grants see our investment matched dollar for dollar to fund promising ovarian cancer research.


National breast cancer foundation

The National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) is Australia’s leading national body funding research into breast cancer with the aim of stopping all deaths from breast cancer. Emerging evidence suggests that there is significant overlap in the mutation profile and endocrine-driven signalling pathways of patients with breast cancer and ovarian cancer. These developments offer exciting opportunities to support collaborative cancer research projects that consider shared approaches to treating breast and ovarian cancer. The NBCF and the OCRF have agreed to jointly fund high impact translational research that spans both ovarian and breast cancers to improve outcomes for women. The total amount available for this funding opportunity is $1 million over three-to-five years, evenly split between the two organisations for one or two research projects.

Ovarian and Breast Cancer Research Collaboration Initiative Grant Recipient Announced

Project: Development of a novel combination therapy to target triple-negative breast and high-grade serous ovarian cancers


AUSTralian cancer research foundation

The Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) provides grants for major infrastructure and equipment to enable high quality research into all forms of cancer in Australia. This provided the opportunity for a complementary funding relationship, whereby the OCRF could step in and fund the personnel working on ovarian cancer projects that had already been awarded by the ACRF and were in line with the OCRF mission. This opportunity created substantial efficiencies, where research teams did not need to reapply for funding when their projects had already been rigorously assessed by the ACRF. A formal partnership commenced in 2018 and the first joint grant was awarded in 2018. The OCRF has committed up to $300,000 per annum for a term of three years to continue this exciting partnership.

Projects: ACRF Program for resolving cancer complexity and therapeutic resistance

 ACRF Facility for innovative cancer drug discovery


cancer council victoria

Cancer Council Victoria has developed an international reputation for innovative work in cancer research, prevention, and support.  As an independent not-for-profit organisation, they play a leading role in reducing the impact of all cancers on all people. Cancer Council Victoria has sought ways to increase investment for research into low survival cancers, such as ovarian cancer, and has agreed to co-fund a Grants-in-Aid award with the OCRF. This model aims to access established and rigorous research assessment processes already in place to ensure the best research applications are supported – with the ultimate aim of improving outcomes for people affected by low survival cancers.  A Grants-in-Aid project has been jointly funded to a maximum of $100,000 per year for up to three years, to support a specific ovarian cancer research project.

Project: Identifying new treatment options for the rare and aggressive ovarian carcinosarcoma 



Development of a novel combination therapy to target triple-negative breast and high-grade serous ovarian cancers

Institution:

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

Lead Chief Investigator:

Professor Kum Kum Khanna

Joint Grant Funder:

National Breast Cancer Foundation

Year Awarded:

2020

This funded project will investigate a new combination therapy that has shown promise for both triple-negative breast (TNBC) and serous-type ovarian cancer. The treatment will focus on an important part of the body’s natural recycling system, called proteasomes. These complexes break down unneeded or damaged proteins in the body, but can play an unwanted assistive role in cancer. A class of drugs, called proteasome inhibitors, can act to selectively kill cancer cells, and also prevent their growth and spread in the body.

Previous generations of proteasome inhibiting drugs were not very effective against cancer, as they couldn’t penetrate into solid tumours or get into the brain. Professor Khanna and her team have shown that a new drug, called marizomib, is more effective than the older options, and can reduce the growth and spread of TNBC. The current project will now assess the drug as a treatment for ovarian cancer.

In addition to testing marizomib alone, the researchers will also test it in combination with other FDA-approved drugs. They believe that these combination therapies may lead to a potential treatment for both breast and ovarian cancer.


Identifying new treatment options for the rare and aggressive ovarian carcinosarcoma

Institution:

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

Lead Chief Investigator:

Dr Holly Barker

Joint Grant Funder:

Cancer Council Victoria

Year Awarded:

2020

Ovarian carcinosarcoma (OCS) is an aggressive cancer with few treatment options. As ovarian carcinosarcoma is a rare cancer which sees low survivorship, the team at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research aim to further understand why OCS is so much more aggressive than other subtypes of ovarian cancer. They also hope to find new treatment options for this rare cancer to improve patient survival.

To do this, the team have a unique toolbox of pre-clinical models of OCS, which they will use to test new treatment options. Researchers will develop organoid models to test potential drugs identified in their drug screens, and potential targets identified in our genetic screens. This will generate top quality data which can be translated to a clinical setting, meaning faster outcomes for patients.


ACRF Program for Resolving Cancer Complexity and Therapeutic Resistance

Institution:

The Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

Lead Chief Investigator:


Joint Grant Funder:

Australian Cancer Research Foundation

Year Awarded:

2019

The ACRF awarded $3.5 million towards this Program which focuses on the discovery of triggers that drive cancer development, how genetic diversity in cancers affects treatment efficacy, and develop better ways of personalising cancer therapies to conquer the biggest challenges in cancer today – predicting and improving patients’ treatment response and overcoming drug resistance. The ACRF investment will enable a major program of research, focused on analysis of single cells taken from patient tumours and models for a range of cancers. The multidisciplinary collaborative team will include 19 cancer experts and their teams from across the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute, who are accomplished leaders in breast, ovarian, lung and pancreatic cancers, acute and chronic leukaemias, lymphoma and myeloma.

The OCRF provided funding for a full-time postdoctoral bioinformatician to operate the sophisticated software required for the new analysis of both single cell genomic data and imaging data from specialist platforms. This service will be available to without fee to any researcher conducting ovarian cancer research.


ACRF Facility for innovative cancer drug discovery

Institution:

Bio21 Institute, University of Melbourne

Lead Chief Investigators:

Professor Michael Parker, Dr David Ascher, Professor Rick Peason, Professor John Silke

Joint Grant Funder:

Australian Cancer Research Foundation

Year Awarded:

2018

The ACRF awarded $2 million towards funding the creation of the ACRF Facility for Innovative Cancer Drug Discovery at the Bio21 Institute, University of Melbourne. The Facility uses structural biology approaches to discover new cancer drugs. Structural biology holds the key to developing innovative cancer drugs by providing detailed information about the shape of molecules that are involved in cancer-causing biological signalling pathways within cells of our bodies. The ACRF Facility will enhance Australia’s cancer research capacity and provide Australian cancer researchers with ready access to powerful tools for early stage structure-based compound discovery and development into drugs that can be tested in clinical trials.

The OCRF provided part-funding for two experienced postdoctoral scientists currently supporting two ovarian cancer research projects.




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