The establishment of a new cancer research facility at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) in Melbourne will help researchers uncover new insights into how cancer develops and how it can be more effectively treated.
The ACRF Breakthrough Technologies Laboratory, which opened today, is Australia’s first dedicated cancer laboratory to use ‘CRISPR/Cas9’ technology to target and directly manipulate genes in cancer cells.
The Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) has funded the $2.5 million laboratory to enhance and accelerate research into many of Australia’s most common and most deadly cancers including cancers of the blood (leukaemia, lymphoma), breast, ovary, lung and bowel.
The director of the WEHI, Professor Doug Hilton, said the ACRF Breakthrough Technologies Laboratory will provide an enormous boost to Australia’s cancer research efforts.
“It has become clear that technologies such as CRISPR/Cas9 can accelerate new breakthroughs in understanding cancer and developing new treatments.”
“The generosity of ACRF and its donors has allowed us to equip our research teams with precisely the tools they need to advance their research,” Professor Hilton said.
Mr Tom Dery, Chairman of the ACRF Board said, “We are proud to enable the ground breaking research conducted at the ACRF Breakthrough Technologies Laboratory. The facility will help to accelerate new treatments for people with cancer in Australia and worldwide.”
The contributions Australian researchers are making to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer are very significant.
“More than 14 million people around the world were diagnosed with cancer last year, including more than 125,000 Australians,” Mr Dery said.
The facility will be used by researchers from WEHI and all Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) partners. Professor Jim Bishop, Executive Director of the VCCC, said the ACRF Breakthrough Technologies Laboratory represented a critical addition to the Victoria’s cancer research capabilities. “The facility provides our researchers with unparalleled access to world-leading technology.”
“The strength of the VCCC lies in the close ties it fosters between the laboratory-based, clinical and other researchers in its partner organisations. This means that discoveries made in the ACRF Breakthrough Technologies Laboratory will be translated into new treatments for cancer as rapidly in Melbourne as anywhere in the world,” said Professor Bishop.