Innovative research improving brain cancer treatment

Australian National University researchers have established Canberra’s first Brain Cancer Biobank with their ACT Health Research Innovation Fund grant.

Canberra Brain Cancer Collaborative, headed up by Professor Leonie Quinn and her team, created the biobank using the $300,000 grant awarded in the 2022 Research Innovation Fund round.

The biobank stores brain cancer biospecimens and genomic data from patients treated at Canberra Hospital. It contributes to Brain Cancer Biobanking Australia, which is a virtual biobank hub that allows researchers around the country to access brain cancer tissue, samples and data.

The information gathered by the biobank enables researchers at ANU’s John Curtin School of Medical Research to create 3D bio-printed ‘mini brains’, allowing them to analyse how tumours grow and respond to treatment, and trial new therapeutic drugs tailored to each patient.

Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA said the biobank will help develop new cancer treatments and improve clinical care.

“Canberrans with brain cancer will have the opportunity to receive cutting-edge analysis of their cancer, for the first time, which will help their health care team direct them to current clinical trials and emerging treatments,” Minister Stephen-Smith said.

“This biobank is another great example of the ACT Government’s strategic plan for research in the health system helping our workforce deliver better outcomes for patients.”

“Focusing on research investment is one of the many ways the ACT Government is establishing a learning health system and positioning the ACT as a national leader in health research and innovation.”

The Research and Innovation Fund is guided by Better Together: A strategic plan for research in the ACT health system 2022-2030.

Five fellowships through the Research Innovation Fund2023 have recently been announced, supporting early and mid-career Canberra health researchers. The diverse research projects selected include enhancing post-diagnostic care for dementia patients, supporting community response to voluntary assisted dying, and studying allergies and immunodeficiencies of patients in the ACT.

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