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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    JOINT STATEMENT
    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Cameron Dick
    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Advance Queensland funding targets cancer

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Wednesday, April 20, 2016

    Advance Queensland funding targets cancer

    The Queensland Government has boosted the fight against cancer by providing $900,000 in Advance Queensland funding for three promising Queensland research projects.

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said the three Advance Queensland Research Fellowships opened up new fronts in the battle against Queensland’s biggest killer.

    They are among 54 grant recipients sharing in a total of $10 million research grants delivered by the Advance Queensland Research Fellowship and PhD Scholarship programs dedicated to supporting critical scientific research in Queensland in 2016.

    “One in two Queenslanders will develop cancer in their lifetime, with melanoma particularly one of our worst cancers. Unfortunately, each year cancer takes the lives of over 8000 Queenslanders,” Ms Enoch said.

    “The personal impact of cancer on individuals, their families and the community is huge.

    “Cancer also has a significant impact on the economy, with costs to health services and loss of productivity.”

    Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said cancer research was one of the most important areas of study in the medical field.

    “It is important that we find effective ways of diagnosing and treating cancer and this is why the Palaszczuk Government is throwing its weight behind what we believe is very promising Queensland research,” Mr Dick said.

    “We need to continue to be on the cutting edge of research to continue contributing to the global fight against cancer.”

    Dr Emma Bolderson from the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation at The Queensland University of Technology was awarded a $300,000 Advance Queensland Research Fellowship to advance work on developing next generation anti-cancer drugs.

    Dr Bolderson and her team have discovered a number of biological anti-cancer agents that have proven effective in inhibiting two of the key proteins responsible for the survival of cancer cells.

    “We’ve shown in the lab that these drugs kill cancer cells dead in their tracks. What’s also exciting is that these drugs are much less toxic and so will have fewer side-effects than many of the current chemotherapeutics on the market. With the support of the Advance Queensland Fellowship, we can now go to the next stage in the drug development process,” Dr Bolderson said.

    Associate Professor John Miles, Laboratory Head, Immunology Department at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute has also received a $300,000 Advance Queensland Research Fellowship for his work on using the body’s own immune system to fight cancer.

    One of Australia’s leading immunologists, Associate Professor Miles said his research project was based on a major breakthrough by QIMR Berghofer researchers in 2014 where they found a key protein that hides cancer from the body’s immune system.

    “In effect, cancer uses this protein to camouflage itself from hunter killer immune cells that circulate around our bodies. If we can switch off this camouflage system, then our immune cells will finally see the cancer cells as very dangerous and take them out. And that’s where the Advance Queensland Fellowship comes in – it enables us to move this research very close to the clinic,” Associate Professor Miles said.

    Dr Yah Leng Lim from the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering at The University of Queensland is the third $300,000 Advance Queensland Research Fellowship recipient.

    “The current methods for detecting and diagnosing skin cancers are based on a visual examination by a clinician and are not always perfect. Terahertz imaging can provide a more accurate assessment of the cancerous skin lesions, aiding in the early diagnosis of skin cancers. This new technology is harmless to humans,” Dr Lim said.

    “So we’ve developed a prototype and the test results are extremely promising. But it is bulky and requires cryogenic cooling. To commercialise it, we need to consolidate the electronics and system design to realise a cryogen-free system.”

    The three-year fellowships incorporate a provision that researchers must collaborate with industry and the community.

    Read more about the Advance Queensland Research Fellowships and PhD Scholarships recipients on the Advance Queensland website.

    Media contact: Daniel Lato (Minister Enoch) 0438 830 201

                           Andrew Fraser (Minister Dick) 0428 690 679