New Funding for Cancer Research
World Cancer Day (February 4) marked the announcement of funding for four new cancer research projects thanks to the generosity of guests and supporters of Flinders Foundation’s Pink Yellow Blue Enchanted Garden event.
These four Flinders Foundation Cancer Seed Grants, totalling nearly $100,000, will enable researchers to make new discoveries to help improve the lives of patients with breast, bowel, bladder and head and neck cancers.
Grants were awarded to:
Dr Ashley Hopkins - Patient-centred care and precision medicine in breast cancer: Leveraging patient-reported outcome data to inform survival and quality-of-life.
Dr Ashley Hopkins will use state-of-the-art data science methods to generate new knowledge and insights into the quality-of-life effects of contemporary treatment options for breast cancer.
“At present there is limited standardisation to the reporting of patient reported quality-of-life outcomes in clinical trials, so the ability to compare the physical, psychological and financial impacts of different anticancer medicines is difficult,” Dr Hopkins explains.
“This research aims to improve clinical trial designs and evaluations to provide insights into the effects of treatment according to patient reports, and to help with choosing of the right medicine for the right patient with regards to both quality-of-life, as well as survival.”
Dr Luke Grundy - Silencing sensory neurons to improve bladder cancer survivorship
Immunotherapy is the gold standard treatment for decreasing the risk of progression and recurrence of some types of invasive bladder cancer.
And whilst effective, it comes with a variety of side effects – the most common being lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), including impacts on urinary frequency, urgency and bladder pain. In some patients these side effects are so severe they have to stop treatment, leading to worse cancer outcomes.
Dr Luke Grundy will use his Cancer Seed Grant to build on work carried out as part of his Ralph Ernst Fellowship, to identify novel ‘nerve blocking’ treatments that prevent bladder pain and dysfunction following immunotherapy for bladder cancer.
“By identifying a novel therapeutic intervention that relieves lower urinary tract symptoms during immunotherapy, we hope to provide an opportunity to ultimately improve both quality-of-life and cancer prognosis for patients with bladder cancer,” Dr Grundy says
Dr Molla Wassie - Should we continue or stop surveillance for colorectal cancer in older persons aged over 75 years?
Dr Molla Wassie has been awarded a Flinders Foundation Cancer Seed Grant to build on his team’s research, exploring ways to safely and more cost-effectively manage colonoscopies as part of cancer surveillance programs for people at high risk of bowel cancer.
This latest project will take a closer look at Australian clinical colonoscopy guidelines, which currently recommend surveillance colonoscopies should stop when a person turns 75.
“The risk for bowel cancer steadily increases with age, and the aim of our work is to determine the risk factors of developing bowel cancer in those individuals over the age of 75 who are no longer undergoing surveillance colonoscopies,” Dr Wassie explains.
“We then want to evaluate that alongside the need for personalised care and cost-effective shared decision making between a patient and their clinician to determine which older patients are at increased risk for bowel cancer and need to continue with regular colonoscopies after the age of 74.
Dr Charmaine Woods - Old drugs, new cures? Pre-clinical validation of new chemotherapeutic options for treating head and neck cancer
Could ‘old drugs’ provide new cures for patients with head and neck cancers? That’s the question Flinders University’s Dr Charmaine Woods is asking with the help of a Flinders Foundation Cancer Seed Grant.
Dr Woods and her research team of PhD student Dr Lucy Huang, Associate Professor Eng Ooi and Associate Professor Michael Michael, will look at ‘repurposing drugs’ to investigate whether some existing drugs stop head and neck cancer cells from growing when they are combined with metformin – a drug used to treat Type 2 diabetes.
“Cancer of the head and neck can have a severe impact on essential functions such as breathing, chewing, swallowing and speaking,” Dr Woods explains.
“Unlike breast and lung cancer which have an arsenal of chemotherapy drugs for treatment, the options for treating head and neck cancer are limited, and the toxicity from treatments that are available can be severe and further impact these essential functions, often for life.
“So new chemotherapy treatments are urgently needed to provide alternative curative treatment options that are better tolerated and minimise the toxic side effects of treatment.”
Brett’s Hope for Brain Cancer Breakthrough
Three years ago, Dr Brett Stringer arrived at Flinders to work on an idea to help improve survival for patients with the deadliest form of brain cancer – glioblastoma.
The healing sounds of music
Thanks to the generosity of Flinders Foundation supporters and a CommBank Staff Foundation Community Grant, elderly and palliative patients, as well as those undergoing rehabilitation, have been being entertained, soothed and moved by a variety of visiting musicians through a new ‘Music Matters’ program.
Panthers roar with Flinders Foundation
An exciting partnership has been launched between South Adelaide Football Club and Flinders Foundation for the benefit of the Southern Adelaide community.
New PET scan hope for ‘tricky’ tumours
“Groundbreaking” work out of Flinders is aiming to help doctors visualise ‘tricky’ tumours not visible on PET scans to help them make important cancer treatment decisions.
2023 Flinders Foundation Health Seed Grant Round now open
Flinders Foundation, with support from Flinders University, is proud to open the 2023 Flinders Foundation Health Seed Grant Round supporting health and medical research.
A novel blood test which could be used to monitor the treatment of lung cancer
Flinders Medical Centre Senior Consultant, Dr Anand Rose, has received a Southern Adelaide Local Health Network (SALHN) Enquiry Grant for research into a novel blood test which could be used to monitor the treatment of lung cancer – the most common cause of cancer-related death in Australia.
Stroke Rehab goes Virtual
Researchers from Flinders University and UniSA are set to develop a new rehabilitation technique for stroke survivors using state-of-the-art Virtual Reality (VR) technology.
New Hope for Pancreatic Cancer
Dr Jean Winter and her Flinders University research team will soon begin trials of a world-first blood biomarker test for patients with pancreatic cancer.
Help for families in gambling battle
The Southern Adelaide Local Health Network’s (SALHN) Statewide Gambling Therapy Service provides psychological therapies to individuals with gambling addictions.
Rapid access to surgical procedures
Podiatrists at Noarlunga Hospital will trial a new model of care for anxious patients, to help them get rapid access to some minor surgical procedures.