March 19, 2008
Researchers Get The Latest Tools To Fight Cancer
University of Queensland researchers will be at the forefront of fighting cancer thanks to a new $3.2 million grant from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF).
The ACRF funding will allow scientists from UQ's Diamantina Institute for Cancer, Immunology and Metabolic Medicine (DI), and their partners from the Queensland University of Technology, to buy the latest high-tech tools to help them discover genes linked to cancer.
"We will be able to sequence nearly a billion DNA bases per day, where before it took many months," said Professor Tom Gonda, who leads the Cancer Biology research program at the DI.
He said the new instruments will be integrated to form the ACRF Comprehensive Cancer Genomics Facility, which will be located at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, and in three years' time will move to a more spacious research building, the Translational Research Institute, with a remit to develop new treatments for cancer and other diseases.
"Identifying genes linked to common cancers such as cervical and prostate cancer will help doctors spot individuals at high risk at an early stage when the cancer can be easily treated or even prevented, avoiding the need for unnecessary surgery and radiotherapy later on," he said.
Professor Gonda said the new tools would give Queensland's cancer research community access to the latest in instrumentation that would "open up whole new areas of study".
"For example, other new technologies in the Facility would allow scientists to identify genes that may be targets for new anti-cancer drugs," he said.
"We will have the ability to screen thousands of genes, something we couldn't do without the degree of automation offered by this equipment."
The latest grant brings total ACRF funding to UQ since 1995 to nearly $14m.
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