BRAIN TUMOUR RESEARCH
TO YOUNG AUSTRALIANS
committed over 4 years
The AIM BRAIN project helps doctors better understand individual types of tumours. With better understanding, treatments can be better tailored to the individual, brain tumour battlers increase their odds of beating the cancer and in some cases, not risk being over treated.
The project brings world-leading tech that helps doctors better understand and classify individual tumours. With a clearer understanding of each tumour, specialists can create better, personalised treatments not just based on the placement of a tumour but on its actual molecular build. The new approach will not only help them target treatments more appropriately but also reduce the likelihood of debilitating treatment side effects as more intensive treatments are reserved for the most aggressive tumours.
Personalised diagnosis and medicine is at the very forefront of cancer treatment globally and was previously only available in the US, Germany, Canada and a small number of other countries. The project is an Australian-first RCD initiative in collaboration with ANZCHOG, The Australian and New Zealand Children’s Haematology/Oncology Group.
What is a molecular subtyping service?
Good question (we would be surprised if you knew the answer already).
There are around 120 different types of brain tumours and each one responds differently to various types of treatment. In the past couple of years, there have been significant breakthroughs in the ways the specific tumours are identified through a process called ‘methylation arrays’ which analyses DNA. Essentially, this will give doctors more specific information about the type of tumour someone has, and they will be able to develop ways to tailor the treatment for the best possible outcomes.
How does it work?
Using state of the art technology, this research will examine the chemical tag, methylation, on the DNA of thousands of genes in brain tumour samples. Methylation tags are present in different patterns that are unique to different types of brain tumours. Hence these unique methylation patterns can be utilised to refine the diagnosis of a tumour thus ensuring that the most effective treatments are given.
Pictured: Clustering of brain tumours on a methylation “heat map”. Image from Columbia University Medical Centre
Associate Professor Nick Gottardo
Head, Paediatric Oncology
Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, WA
Dr. Jordan R. Hansford
Paediatric Oncologist/ Neuro-Oncologist, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne
Associate Professor Elizabeth Algar
Research Head, Genetics and Molecular Pathology Monash Health / Hudson Institute
Dr. Peter Downie
Head, Peadiatric Oncologist Monash Medical Centre, VIC
Professor Richard Saffery
Leader, Cell Biology, Cancer & Disease Epigenetics Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, VIC
Dr. Jason Cain
Head, Developmental and Cancer Biology Hudson Institute of Medical Research, VIC
Dr. Dong Anh Khuong Quang
Post-doctoral fellow, Royal Children’s Hospital, VIC
Dr. David Ziegler
Group Leader, Targeted Therapies Children’s Cancer Institute, NSW
SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY PANEL
Professor Richard Gilbertson
Director of Cambridge Cancer Centre
Cambridge University, United Kingdom
Dr. Michael Taylor
Neurosurgeon and Principle Investigator
Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada
Co-Chair Department of Oncology
St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee USA
“The support that Monash Children’s Cancer Centre has received from the Robert Connor Dawes Foundation and its supporters enables new projects to be started, in particular a laboratory research scheme looking at the molecular profiling of different tumour types, which will be expanded to involve other centres around Australia. ”
– Peter Downie
We’ve already committed half of the funds for the project, $1 million of the $2 million required over 4 years. If you are interested in helping to fund this project please contact our Executive Director, Liz Dawes