SAHMRI researchers leading the future of cancer research with Beat Cancer Project grants

09 Feb 2022
SAHMRI researchers leading the future of cancer research with Beat Cancer Project grants

SAHMRI researchers leading the future of cancer research with Beat Cancer Project grants

Cancer Council’s Beat Cancer Project has awarded more than $1.2 million to South Australian cancer researchers, with seven SAHMRI affiliated researchers winning funding to work towards the next cancer breakthrough.

Twelve research fellowships and grants were awarded across a broad spectrum of cancer research projects, ranging from cancer prevention and early detection through to treatment.

Early Career Fellowship recipient Dr Melissa Cantley from SAHMRI and the University of Adelaide is leading a project that hopes to provide an insight into the fatal, incurable bone marrow cancer multiple myeloma.

“Before a patient is diagnosed with multiple myeloma, their diagnosis is preceded by a pre-cancerous stage known as monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS),” Dr Cantley said.

“We currently have no way of identifying which MGUS patients will go on to develop myeloma and have no treatment to prevent this progression.”

This funding will enable cutting edge analysis of clinical samples to investigate what causes MGUS to progress to cancerous myeloma. We will also work to discover new blood-based biomarkers to identify which MGUS patients are at high risk of progressing to myeloma.

“Our hope is that, through support from Cancer Council’s Beat Cancer Project, we can change how we treat MGUS and myeloma and improve outcomes and quality of life for these patients,” Dr Cantley said.

“I am very honoured to be awarded a Cancer Council Beat Cancer Fellowship. This funding is so important to support the work of researchers, particularly early career researchers like myself.”

SAHMRI will also administer grants to Dr Jo Dono and A/Prof David Yeung.

Dr Dono’s project will look at the potential to prevent cancer by applying tobacco control reframing strategies to ultra-processed food and obesity.

A/Prof Yeung is leading one of the first studies to test the drug ‘asciminib’ in newly diagnosed Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia patients. This research will help identify patients who will derive the most benefit and how the drug can be best used, both in CML and in other leukaemias.

The list of SAHMRI affiliated researchers to be awarded grants also includes A/Prof Luke Selth, Prof Deb White, Prof Tim Hughes, and A/Prof David Ross.

Established in 2011, Cancer Council’s Beat Cancer Project has invested $3.23million towards local South Australian cancer research in the past five years alone.

A collaboration between Cancer Council SA, the State Government, SAHMRI and the universities, with support from the Medical Research Future Fund, the Beat Cancer Project is the single biggest source of research funding in the state outside of the Federal Government.

For more information on Cancer Council’s Beat Cancer Project, visit