Quite simply put, there would be no cancer breakthroughs in medicine without medical research and there would be no medical research at the Perkins without you.
Australian medical research is severely underfunded. It traditionally operates on a grant model. But there are not enough grants to go around. For every national grant available, six researchers apply. That means that five labs who may be on the verge of a breakthrough may not get funding and be forced to shelve their research until they do.
This is no way to cure diseases.
The answer to this imbalanced process is you. Every day people like you are stepping up and fundraising through events like the ride to keep labs operational and researchers focused on better outcomes for people living with cancer.
Dr Louise Winteringham
The holy grail of cancer treatment would be to design a treatment plan that targets every single type of cell in a patient’s tumour and, as a result, cure cancer. This approach is called personalised or precision medicine.
With the help of funds from the MACA Cancer 200, Louise is designing a pipeline to analyse a range of patient tumours.
Cancer is a complex disease which is why researchers don’t know all the influences that contribute to the growth of a tumour cell. However, what they do have available is a range of techniques that enable them to look at all the different factors that are affecting the growth of a cell and Louise’s pipeline will better link those investigations with treatment tests to find the best, personal approach for each patient.
The hard to treat cancers, like liver cancer and head and neck cancer, get special focus at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research.
Rikki identifies the messages, or cell signalling pathways, that the cells use to resist treatments and looks at ways to specifically target cancer cells.
One of the cancers that Rikki’s been particularly working on is difficult to treat serious skin cancer, metastatic melanoma.
Big changes have occurred in the management of melanoma. Immune therapy and the introduction of targeted treatment based on the presence of a particular gene mutation that occurs in about 40% of melanomas have led to much better outcomes for many patients.