CCWA Collaborative Cancer Grant Scheme  

This scheme is co-funded by Cancer Council WA, The Government of Western Australia, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, The University of Western Australia and Telethon Kids Institute.

Full list of grants and recipients 2019

 

Project title
A study to treat cancer-related weight loss in patients with mesothelioma
Collaborators A/Prof Fraser Brims, Dr Carolyn Peddle-McIntyre, Dr Samantha Bowyer and Dr Felicity Hawkins
Institutions Curtin University; Edith Cowan University; Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital,The University of Western Australia
Research description  

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the lung caused by breathing in asbestos. The number of Western Australian's with mesothelioma is among the highest worldwide. Most people will not live beyond one year of diagnosis. Research has found weight loss due to mesothelioma is very common and that patients with weight loss live less long.

The research aims to test a new medicine that may treat weight loss from mesothelioma. This medicine has been shown to work and be safe in other cancers. Every patient in the study will receive this medicine but in a random order so it can be tested against a placebo (inactive tablet). The team will use medical imaging to measure how body fat and muscle change, and measure quality of life.

This small world first study may lead to better quality of life of people with mesothelioma and improve the understanding of treating weight loss in cancer.

Funding from CCWA $19,018 from CCWA ($49,583 in total)
Fully supported In the name of Climbers Against Cancer

 

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Project title
From flocking birds to swarming immune cells; Integrating mathematics and biology to understand a successful response to cancer immunotherapy
Collaborators Dr Jonathan Chee, Dr Ayham Zaitouny, Dr Emma de Jong and Dr Debora Cristina Correa
Institutions The University of Western Australia; CSIRO; Telethon Kids Institute, The University of Western Australia
Research description  

Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable cancer caused by asbestos. The standard treatment for mesothelioma is chemotherapy, but prognosis is poor. This higlights the need for improved therapies, and immunotherapy is an exciting option to improve mesothelioma treatment.

Immunotherapy is an exciting treatment because it can lead to cures in some patients with some cancers. The treatment has a lot of side effects and at the moment it cannot be predicted which patients will benefit. This project aims to understand why some individuals respond to immunotherapy but others do not, and develop novel methods of predicting these responses.

The team will characterise millions of immune tumour genes and apply mathematical methods to visualize and identify the patterns of change over time that can predict successful treatment outcomes.

The benefit of this study is that it will help to find out early in a treatment plan if that plan is working so that it can be altered if it is not.

Funding from CCWA $20,000 from CCWA ($50,000 in total)
Fully supported In the name of Climbers Against Cancer

 

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Project title
Determining if gene variations causing adult cancer could promote leukaemia in children
Collaborators Dr Mark Cruickshank, Dr Christian Pflueger, Dr Luke Jones, Dr Eric Ji-Hoon Joo, Dr Boris Novakovic and A/Prof Parwinder Kaur
Institutions Telethon Kids Institute; The University of Western Australia; Princess Maxima Centre for Paediatric Oncology; Melbourne University; Murdoch Children's Research Institute
Research description  

The team are investigating if inherited DNA variations found in infant leukaemia patients contribute to their disease. While many forms of childhood leukaemia can be effectively treated, this is not the case for infant patients. Our research proposal aims to identify how inherited DNA variations promote the development of leukaemia and how they might be targeted with new therapies. The DNA variations found in infant patients have previously been found in several types of adult cancers.

In adult cancers, they function by enhancing the cells ability to overcome stressful environmental conditions. The team will be testing if leukaemia cells also show enhanced stress response to these DNA variations using advanced methods to engineer mouse cells in test tubes to test how these DNA variations cause a normal cell to transform into a leukaemia cell.

This research aims to identify a new mechanism causing infant leukaemia with the aim of finding novel ways to treat this deadly disease.

Funding from CCWA $20,000 from CCWA ($50,000 in total)
Fully supported In the name of the Estate of Delys Nash


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Project title
Can creatine supplementation enhance the effects of weight training on muscle strength and mass in prostate cancer patients undergoing androgen deprivation therapy?
Collaborators Dr Ciaran Fairman, A/Prof Raphael Chee, Dr Krissy Kendall and Mr Colin Tang
Institutions Edith Cowan University; Genesis Cancer Care WA; Edith Cowan University; Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital
Research description  

Androgen deprivation therapy is a common treatment for prostate cancer that results in profound muscle loss, which is associated with worse physical function, quality of life and poorer prognosis. Exercise is regularly used to combat this muscle wasting, but due to the severity of this condition, novel strategies to improve muscle mass are highly valuable. Creatine (Cr) is a naturally occurring substance in the body that plays an important role in providing energy. Cr has been shown to improve muscle mass in other clinical populations. The body has limited ability to produce Cr, so supplementation is regularly suggested to increase stores.

The team will compare 12 weeks of weight training with or without Cr supplementation. They will take measures of muscle mass ,strength and physical function before and after training.

The potential impact of this research is quite large. Results of this trial could inform clinicians of a novel strategy to combat muscle wasting in a population at great need.

Funding from CCWA $20,000 from CCWA ($50,000 in total)
Supported In the names of Swan Athletics Senior Citizens


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Project title
Utilising a unique blood cell (platelets) as a predictive biomarker in melanoma
Collaborators Dr Belinda Guo, A/Prof Elin Gray and Dr Adnan Khattak
Institutions The University of Western Australia; Edith Cowan University; Fiona Stanley Hospital
Research description  

Melanoma is an aggressive cancer and the incidence in increasing in WA and worldwide. New treatments are promising but are only beneficial for some patients. Due to the increased cost of treatment and the severity of side effects observed in some patients, there is an urgent need to find a way to predict how patients will respond to treatment. This research aims to address this by looking at a specialised cell in the blood: platelets.

Platelets play an important role in wound repair and clotting, but have also been found to contain tumour-specific genetic information. This means platelets could be a unique way to obtain information about tumour vulnerability to treatment and to monitor response to therapy.

In this study, the team will examine platelets from patients with melanoma and healthy people to indentify specific genetic markers that can be used to predict patient responses to treatment. This will help inform treatment decisions and ensure that the most appropriate and effective treatments are given to patients.

Funding from CCWA $19,833 from CCWA ($47,702 in total)
Supported In the names of the Cyril and Nina Bassham Research Fund, Climbers Against Cancer, Gilmac Pty Ltd & the Joseph and Betty Pitschel Pain Relief Fund

 

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Project title
New type of radiation to treat triple negative breast cancers
Collaborators Dr Anabel Sorolla, Dr Sergii Romanenko, Dr Almantas Pivrikas and Dr Jully Gogoi Tiwari
Institution The University of Western Australia; Murdoch University, Curtin University
Research description  

Triple negative breast cancer is an aggressive type of breast cancer that causes significant number of deaths particularly in young women. This cancer lacks effective and targeted treatment options. This project aims to develop a specific therapy for this cancer that consists of using non-harmful millimeter radiation (heat) in combination with drugs that target the receptor TRPV1.

TRPV1 is particularly abundant in triple negative breast cancer and can be activated by heat and drugs. The activation of the receptor leads to cancer cell death. The application of radiation in combination with drugs will activate the receptor even faster and for a longer period achieving more effective tumour reduction with lower drug doses.

Furthermore, from this project the expectation is to provide a more tailored and less toxic treatment for patients with triple negative breast cancer that in the long term will reduce the mortality associated with these cancers.

Funding from CCWA $20,000 from CCWA ($50,000 in total)
Supported In the name of Lillian Garnett & The Women of the Greek Community

 

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