Two up-and-coming young researchers from the University of Adelaide and SAHMRI are major beneficiaries of the latest round of Cancer Council SA’s Beat Cancer Project funding.
Dr Ilaria Pagani from SAHMRI and the University of Adelaide has been awarded a three-year, $300,000 Mid Career Research Fellowship to continue her quest to improve therapeutic outcomes for chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) patients.
Early Career Research Fellowship recipient Dr Krzysztof Mrozik is also with SAHMRI and the University of Adelaide. He’ll receive $240,000 over three years to investigate novel drug delivery options to enhance the quality of life and survival for people with multiple myeloma.
“Our project aims to use nanoparticles to selectively deliver and release the drug at sites of the cancer while minimising exposure to healthy tissue.” Dr Krzysztof Mrozik
The most common and effective treatment for multiple myeloma is a drug called bortezomib, which Dr Mrozik says can cause severe side effects including pain, numbness and even paralysis of the hands and feet.
“A major problem with bortezomib is that it affects all parts of the body, not just the cancer,” Dr Mrozik said.
“Our project aims to use nanoparticles to selectively deliver and release the drug at sites of the cancer while minimising exposure to healthy tissue.”
The work of two senior SAHMRI and the University of Adelaide researchers will also benefit from Beat Cancer Project funding.
SAHMRI Precision Medicine Theme Leader, Professor Tim Hughes, will receive $100,000 to develop an artificial intelligence-based algorithm to improve frontline therapy for CML patients while Health Policy Centre Director, Professor Caroline Miller, will use her $100,000 grant to examine the impact of policies aimed at reducing sugary drink consumption.
“Specifically, we’ll be looking at whether consumers are substituting sugary drinks with other beverages including water, fruit juice and drinks with artificial sweeteners,” Professor Miller said.
Dr Iain Comerford also from the University of Adelaide received $100,000 for research into improving T-cell homing to solid tumours.
Seven other South Australian researchers were awarded grants in this round of Beat Cancer Project funding which totals almost $3 million.
Cancer Council SA established the Beat Cancer Project in 2011 as a collaboration with SAHMRI, SA Health, UniSA, the University of Adelaide and Flinders University. It provides the single biggest cancer research investment in South Australia outside of the Federal Government.