SAHMRI scientists striving to Beat Cancer

03 Feb 2023
SAHMRI scientists striving to Beat Cancer

Nearly $2 million has been pumped into local cancer projects through the Cancer Council Beat Cancer Project, with SAHMRI scientists sharing in the success.

Dr Laura Eadie, Associate Professor David Yeung and Dr Chui Yan (Shanice) Mah have been awarded grants and fellowships for their research spanning a range of cancer types, including breast, bowel, prostate, and leukaemia.

Dr Eadie received a Mid-Career Research Fellowship for her work modelling mutations in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), a complex and aggressive blood cancer that occurs primarily in children. Her aim is to enhance treatment options and maximise the power of next-generation sequencing.

Dr Eadie says philanthropic fellowships like the Cancer Council Beat Cancer Project offer crucial support for mid-career researchers. 

"Three years of guaranteed funding means I can better focus on my exciting research rather than worrying about when and from where the next grant is coming," Dr Eadie said.

Dr Eadie has already made important discoveries in the field, discovering that anti-cancer drug could be repurposed to treat a high-risk subtype of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Her team will now build on these findings to explore new genomic alterations and identify effective targeted therapies.

"I am committed to turning laboratory discoveries into impact for patients," Dr Eadie said.

"The outcomes of this project will provide clinicians with an arsenal of new and repurposed FDA-approved drugs to treat different genomic lesions associated with T-ALL."

A/Prof David Yeung will focus on improving outcomes for Philadelphia chromosome positive leukemias through his Early Career Clinician Researcher Fellowship.

“My research program will find new ways to target these leukemias. I will examine the genomic events that may influence treatment outcomes and develop ultra-sensitive methods to detect any leukaemia left behind after treatment,” A/Prof Yeung said.

“This research will lead to better understanding leukemias and introduce more effective, less toxic therapies.”

Dr Shanice Mah from SAHMRI’s Prostate Cancer research group headed by Prof Lisa Butler, has earned an Early Career Research Fellowship, part funded by the SAiGENCI establishment grant. Her study will focus on differences in the makeup of cells in prostate cancer, to identify drivers of disease progression and treatment resistance.

“My fellowship will establish new approaches to identify patients at high risk of disease progression or treatment failure and explain how these tumours evade treatment,” Dr Mah said.

"This will inform the development of better treatment strategies to more effectively kill cancer cells and prevent treatment resistance.”

The Cancer Council Beat Cancer Project is the biggest source of research investment in South Australia outside of the Federal Government.

This unique collaboration brings together Cancer Council SA, the State Government, SAHMRI, Flinders University, the University of Adelaide, and the University of South Australia.

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