Cancer is not an elective disease and we want you to know that our research continues on.
The Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute, like many organisations had to navigate the major social and economic impact of COVID-19. We play an essential role in providing facilities to store and process patient samples for ongoing research and trials. Furthermore, throughout lockdowns, the Institute continued to receive patient samples of those diagnosed with cancer. With many of our fundraising programs put on hold because of COVID-19, we are very thankful for the support received to continue the momentum of our research during this period.
Over the past year, we have seen our team grow and great developments have taken place in our key research projects. In 2020, Dr Aparna Jayachandran joined our team to lead a new Breast cancer research program, focusing on triple negative breast cancer. The group have already achieved world first work, describing the behaviour and function of a pregnancy associated plasma protein (PAPPA), found in aggressive triple negative breast cancer. We look forward to developing this project and potential therapeutic targets that can assist in patient outcomes.
Our key projects are in Immunology, Ovarian cancer, Breast cancer, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia and Langerhans cell histiocytosis and Renal cancer. The Institute currently has 9 PhD students from Federation University Australia and 14 staff.
Our research continues to learn how the immune system can fight cancer. The overall focus of our program, is to determine protein targets on cancer cells that may be involved in evading the immune system, by creating a camouflaging “fog” around these cells. It is hoped that by identifying these proteins, druggable antibody targets can be developed that would “lift the fog” from these cells and allow the immune system to attack the cancer. With this approach, becoming the future treatment alternative to chemotherapy and radiotherapy.