CCWA Suzanne Cavanagh Early Career Investigator Grants

Full list of grants and recipients 2019


Project title
Nutrients for brain tumours - fat or sugar?
Recipient  Dr Haibo Jiang
Institution The University of Western Australia
Research description  

Brain cancer kills more children than any other disease, and is responsible for more deaths of people under 40 in Australia than any other type of cancer. The survival rate is very low (22%), and for some aggressive forms of brain cancer, such as glioblastoma, the survival rate is only 5%. Furthermore, the survival rates have barely changed in the last three decades. Brain cancer urgently requires more research efforts to improve this situation.

The overall goal of this project is to improve our understandings of brain cancer. The specific objective of this project is to study the type of nutrients brain cancer cells take up from the blood to grow and develop. The team will use advanced imaging technology to visualise and measure how brain tumours utilise nutrients - fat and sugar - in comparison to the healthy brain.

This study will yield new knowledge that is fundamental to brain cancer biology, which could ultimately result in new and better imaging and therapeutic strategies.

Funding from CCWA $34,848
Supported In the name of Relay for Life Busselton's Dream Catchers & Jill Tilly

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Project Unveiling the interaction between leukaemia cells and bone cells
Recipient  Dr Laurence Cheung
Institution Telethon Kids Institute and Curtin University
Research description  

Recent studies in acute myeloid luekaemia, the most common type of acute leukaemia in adults, suggest that the microenvironment (neighbouring cells) of cancer cells plays a similar role as in solid tumours, contributing to the failure of therapy and disease progression. In contrast, the environment in pre-B cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), the most common form of cancer in children, has not been studied.

The team have established a preclinical model that represents a specific type pre-B ALL. This model replicates the clinical features of bone loss in children with ALL at diagnosis. For the first time the team discovered that using a drug called zoledronic acid to restore the bone loss reduces leukaemia cell growth and improves survival.

This research aims to study the interactions between the bone forming cells and leukaemia cells in detail. An improved understanding of the interactive mechanisms between leukaemia cells and bone cells will enable us to develop novel therapeutic strategies.

Funding from CCWA $34,723
Supported In the names of Kai's Big GOLD Ball, Deeny O'Shaughnessy & the Estate of Delys Nash


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