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Funding boost for hard to treat cancers

Tuesday 30 October, 2018

 Cancer Council CEO Todd Harper with Dunlop Fellowship recipient Professor Mark Dawson.

Ground-breaking research which is investigating a new way to treat cancer, has received a major funding boost.

Professor Mark Dawson, a senior clinician and scientist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre has been awarded Cancer Council’s Sir Edward Dunlop Research Fellowship. Professor Dawson will receive $1.55 million over five years; allowing him to continue his research into epigenetics-based cancer treatments.

Unlike conventional chemotherapies that often supress the immune system, targeted therapies such as epigenetic therapies may enable the patient’s immune system to recognise cancer cells as foreign, and ultimately help eliminate them.

“Epigenetic regulators” are the most common class of genes and proteins that mutate in cancer. Professor Dawson is looking to identify new methods to influence, and ultimately target these epigenetic regulators with drugs that can counteract cancers that are hard to treat.

“This approach could yield new ways to eradicate cancer stem cells which we know are very adept at evading the immune system, and many cancer drugs, to sustain the malignancy,” says Professor Dawson.

While Professor Dawson’s project focuses on blood cancers like acute myeloid leukaemia, if successful, the findings could pioneer new treatments for many other cancer types.

“This body of work will not only provide important new insights into the molecular make-up of cancer, it has the potential to deliver new treatments that could significantly increase the survival of cancer patients,” says Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper.

“The outcomes of this Fellowship could be of great benefit not only to Victorian cancer patients, but also to people around the world,” says Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper.

Cancer Council Victoria established the Dunlop Fellowship in 1994. The five-year, post-doctoral research fellowship is offered to mid-career researchers, to provide security of tenure to advance cancer research projects. 

“Thanks to the generous support from the Victorian community, we are thrilled to be in a position to help fund world-leading researchers like Professor Dawson right here in Victoria,” says Mr Harper. “Thanks to you, every day we're investing in life-saving research to give Australians hope for a cancer free future.”


Learn more about the research we fund.

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