Focus on high mortality cancers

Dr Duagporn Jamsai, Grants-in-Aid program, Monash University

Victorians diagnosed today with a high mortality cancer have a less than 30% chance of being alive in five years. For some, it's as low as 7%.

Of the 30,500 Victorians diagnosed with cancer each year, about 30% fall into the high mortality category. That's 6,564 Victorian families a year battling cancers.

While survival for cancers such as breast has improved to 90%, there has been a lack of progress for cancers including mesothelioma, pancreas, brain, stomach and lung.

That's why we're committed to supporting research that is looking into how we can better detect and treat these cancers.

With your support, we're able to fund the work of Dr Duangporn Jamsai and Professor Moira O'Bryan at Monash University through our Grants-in-Aid program.

Lung cancer is the fourth most common cancer in Victoria, and the leading cause of cancer death (20% of all cancer deaths).

There are a number of risk factors for lung cancer including age, family history, a personal history of diseases such as chronic bronchitis, exposure to elements like coal gas, tobacco smoking, passive smoking and exposure to asbestos.

With late detection making lung cancer one of the most fatal forms of cancer, Dr Duangporn and Prof O'Bryan are trying to discover how we can detect it earlier so patients can receive more effective treatment.

Lung cancer, like many other cancers, is thought to form due to a defect in one or more sets of genes. Tumour suppressor genes are genes that protect a cell from one step on the path to cancer. When these genes mutate to cause a loss in their functions, cells can progress to cancer.

The project is particularly looking at the role of the tumour suppressor gene in the development and progression of lung cancer.

The data they gather will provide new insights into the key molecular networks that regulate lung cancer growth. Ultimately they hope this will lead to the development of biomarkers to detect lung cancer earlier and more targeted therapies.


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Updated: 02 Nov, 2016