Funding fires up future of fluxomics at SAHMRI

25 May 2023
Funding fires up future of fluxomics at SAHMRI

The Ian Potter Foundation has contributed $100,000 to support the establishment of South Australia's first Fluxomics Core Facility at SAHMRI.

Fluxomics is a rapidly progressing branch of science that studies how cells convert nutrients into energy and building blocks for the body. 

The facility will promote collaborative research into the prevention and treatment of a multitude of diseases, predominantly cancer, cardiovascular disease and infertility.

Scientists can use fluxomics to identify the unique metabolic pathways of cancer cells, which may differ from those of healthy cells. There is an increasing awareness that many cancer cells completely reprogram metabolic pathways in their desperation to get nutrients. The knowledge gained from this facility will used to develop new treatments that target cancer cells specifically while sparing healthy cells.

The facility will be managed by clinical haematologist, Dr Daniel Thomas, Blood Cancer Program leader and head of the Myeloid Metabolism lab at SAHMRI, with over eight years of experience in mass spectrometry technology.

“We keep finding new metabolic pathways exploited by different cancers, especially in cancers that have a weak signal on PET imaging. Many metabolic drugs normally used to treat diabetes or cardiovascular disease are now finding new uses in cancer therapy,” Dr Thomas said.

“This will be the first facility dedicated to fluxomics using patient samples in clinical trials in Australia.”

Dr Marten Snel and Dr Paul Trim from SAHMRI's core facility team will also support the project delivery by providing on-going maintenance and training support.

The Ian Potter Foundation is one of Australia’s major philanthropic foundations. The Foundation makes grants nationally to support charitable organisations working to benefit the community across a wide range of sectors including the arts, medical research, public health research, early childhood development, community wellbeing and environmental science. The Foundation aims to support and promote a fair, healthy, sustainable and vibrant Australia and has distributed more than $420m in funding since it was established in 1964.

This grant will supplement separate contributions from the Everglades Foundation and the Richard Cavill Foundation to collectively fund a 6546 Mass Spectrometer as critical equipment to establish the facility.

With this technology, researchers will be able to investigate how food fats impact cancers with IDH1 gene mutations, including acute myeloid leukaemia, chondrosarcoma, bile duct cancer, and low-grade glioma.

The Fluxomics Core Facility will provide vital infrastructure to support numerous research groups at SAHMRI and partner universities working across various fields, such as ophthalmology, diabetes, fertility, and cardiovascular disease.

It’s hoped the research findings from this project will lead to the development of tailored treatments by pinpointing cancer type and mutation-specific metabolic flux pathways using samples from patients participating in clinical trials at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Philanthropic funding plays a crucial role in helping SAHMRI researchers secure further financial support to put their life-changing ideas into practice. These collaborative opportunities amplify positive impact on the community and drive meaningful advancements in scientific research.

SAHMRI is grateful to partner with forward thinking funders like The Ian Potter Foundation, The Richard Cavill Foundation and the Everglades Foundation in helping to unlock new possibilities and make a lasting difference for the benefit of all.

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