APCRC-Q's NHMRC Project Grant Success

APCRC-Q researchers received more than $1.1 million in funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Project Grant Scheme announced on Friday 19 October 2012.

APCRC-Q researchers received more than $1.1 million in funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) project grants announced on Friday 19 October 2012.

Of the 4,743 applications received in this extremely competitive grant round, a grand total 1,141 received grants, bringing the overall success rate to 22.1%.

Among the APCRC-Q’s two successful applications was Professor Pamela Russell’s project, entitled: “Simultaneous Imaging and Drug Delivery for Prostate Cancer Theranostics”.  Professor Russell will be collaborating closely with Professor Andrew Whittaker and Dr Kristofer Thurecht from the University of Queensland’s Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN).  Professor Russell’s project focuses on the use of a highly-sensitive 19F-molecular imaging agent, developed by the project team, which has the potential to both diagnose and treat advanced prostate cancer. This agent will be further modified to create a targeted therapy for advanced prostate cancer, diminishing the side effects to other organs of today’s therapies and allowing the results of treatment to be imaged. It may also prove useful for improved clinical staging for locoregional disease.

 “This project has far reaching implications for both clinicians and patients in the diagnosis and treatment of advanced prostate cancer,” said Professor Russell, “and I am very pleased to be the recipient of this grant, which will make this ground-breaking study possible.”

APCRC-Q’s Dr Jyotsna Batra and Professor Judith Clements, and their colleague Dr Amanda Spurdle from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research also received funding for their project titled “Identification and characterisation of a novel genetic signature at the 5p15 region associated with risk of prostate cancer”.  Following on from their recent success in replicating the genetic association of a region (5p15) with the risk of prostate cancer in Australian men; in this project, the researchers seek to identify the precise genetic variant behind this association, and the functional role of these novel gene/s and variants in disease pathology. Their results will provide a foundation for the development of sensitive and readily applicable lab-based screening tools to be used clinically.

“We are very happy with the success of our application,” said Dr Batra. “The results of this project will provide impetus for drug-targeted research by furthering our understanding on this multi-factorial disease.”

Both projects are central to APCRC-Q’s ongoing research activities.   The Centre’s Executive Director, Professor Colleen Nelson welcomed the NHMRC funding success: “We are all very pleased and proud of Professor Russell, Professor Clements and Dr Batra.  These grants will assist us in furthering the APCRC-Q’s aims to develop new predictive biomarkers, and diagnostic and therapeutic tools with which to detect and treat prostate cancer.”