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Cancer Council Victoria researchers receive prestigious funding to aid cancer fight

Wednesday 6 December, 2017

Researchers from Cancer Council Victoria have received more than $2 million in funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), announced today.

The projects grants, awarded to Professor Melanie Wakefield, Dr Robert MacInnis and Associate Professor Roger Milne, will fund projects looking at tobacco packaging, breast cancer risk and genetics, and optimising cancer care and reducing survival disparites.

Cancer Council Victoria CEO, Todd Harper, said the announcement of the prestigious grants was a ringing endorsement of the quality of Cancer Council Victoria's research efforts.

"We pride ourselves on our research, and are delighted with the awarding of these highly competitive grants," Mr Harper said.

The Head of Behavioural Science at Cancer Council Victoria, Professor Melanie Wakefield, has been awarded $975,000 to investigate new consumer warnings to counter reassurance based tobacco marketing.

“We will assess smokers’ responses to these warnings, compared to current warnings on tobacco. The study will use a variety of methods to determine warnings with the greatest potential to correct persistent faulty beliefs about the harms of smoking,” Professor Wakefield said.

Associate Professor Roger Milne, the Head of Cancer Epidemiology at Cancer Council Victoria, will partner with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services to use linked population-based health-related datasets to optimise cancer care and reduce survival disparities, thanks to his grant worth more than $800,000.

“By analysing routinely collected heath data, we aim determine why men, people with lower socio-economic position and those living in more remote areas tend to have poorer survival following a cancer diagnosis.  The findings from this work will allow policy makers to prioritise interventions targeting those factors that might have the most influence in reducing these disparities in cancer survival,” A/Prof Milne said.

Dr Robert MacInnis will receive more than $400,000 over 3 years to study whether breast cancer risk factors differ according to underlying genetic susceptibility.

“Using data from 23 international prospective cohort studies in the Cancer Cohort Consortium we will evaluate gene-environment interactions for women who are at increased genetic risk of breast cancer,” Dr MacInnis said. 

“Our ultimate goal is to enhance the performance of clinical prediction tools and to develop targeted evidence-based strategies to reduce the risk of breast cancer for women at increased genetic risk of the disease.”