Research Interest Groups

Cancer Biobanking 

The CONCERT Biobank collects tissue from cancer patients for storage and future distribution for medical research projects. Contact Dr Nicole Caixeiro.

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Cancer Cell Visualisation

Cancer cell visualisation research employs state-of-the-art microscopy and analytical methods to visualise cancer cells in surgical tissue, biopsy samples and cell culture conditions. Correlation of information from electron, light and optical microscopy gives a more complete view of cancer cell anatomy, behaviour and treatment response. Contact A/Prof Murray Killingsworth.

  

Cell Signalling

Research on cell signalling investigates how cancer cells communicate with and within each other (contact Dr Tara Roberts) or with the normal tissue surrounding cancer cells (contact Prof Marie Ranson).

  

Cancer Specific Indications

CONCERT’s flagship indications are colorectal (contact A/Prof Kevin Spring), head & neck (contact Dr Navin Niles) and brain (contact Prof Paul de Souza) cancer. Other main research areas includes prostate (A/Prof Kieran Scott), pancreatic (contact Prof Minoti Apte, Prof Marie Ranson, Dr Kara Perrow), breast (contact Dr Patsy Soon, Prof Marie Ranson), gastric (Dr Daniel Brungs/Prof Marie Ranson,Dr Kara Perrow) and ovarian (contact A/Prof Therese Becker) cancer.

 

Circulating Tumour Cell (CTC) Research

CTC research investigates the clinical utility of measuring CTC or circulating nucleic acid in the blood of cancer patients. Contact A/Prof Kevin SpringA/Prof Therese Becker.

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Clinical Exercise Physiology

Despite decades of research demonstrating the beneficial effects of exercise participation for cancer patients and survivors, exercise treatment remains absent from standard cancer care.   The clinical exercise physiology research interest group is dedicated to investigating how exercise physiologically reduces cancer risk, and translating exercise service delivery to clinical practice settings to improve the lives of cancer patients and survivors.  For further information, please contact Dr. Bobby Cheema.    

 

Clinical Skills and Simulation

This Centre provides outstanding hands on training for clinicians, nurses, allied health professionals and students – enabling real clinical outcomes to be translated from the bench to the bedside faster and more efficiently. Contact Dr Scott McKenzie.

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Collaboration for Cancer Outcomes, Research and Evaluation (CCORE)

CCORE aims to improve cancer outcomes through research and the implementation of best practice measures into routine clinical practice in the treatment of cancer. Contact Prof Michael Barton

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Complementary Medicine

Complementary medicine’s principal aim is to promote an evidence based approach to the use of complementary medicine in health care. Contact Prof Alan Bensoussan and Dr Xiaoshu Zhu.

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Drug Discovery & Biomarkers

Research into drug discovery and biomarkers covers a diverse field of research objectives, including cell to cell communication, biomarkers to predict suitability of cancer cells to respond to drug treatment and identifying & testing new drugs against cancer cells in pre-clinical studies (contact Prof Paul de Souza, Prof Minoti Apte, Prof Marie Ranson, Dr Kara Perrow).

 

Health Service Management Research

Health service management research aims to examine, understand, and improve the ways that services are planned, resourced, governed, led, and coordinated to promote consumer care. A particular focus of this research interest group is knowledge translation – that is, the complex processes through which evidence borne from empirical research coalesces with clinician expertise, consumer and carer preferences, organisational capacity, and the context in which care is delivered, to ultimately shape consumer care. Scholarship within this research interest group includes (but is not limited to) process and impact evaluations, as well as the development of programs to optimise community health (contact Dr Ann Dadich and Prof. Lynn Kemp).

 

Medical Oncology – Cancer and Inflammation.

Research outline:

People who are predisposed to chronic inflammation also have an increased cancer risk. Acute inflammation is important for clearing infection and wound repair and can act as an anti-tumour pathway. In contrast, chronic inflammation represents dysregulation of the immune response and can create a pro-tumourigenic environment. Tumours are composed not only of cancer cells but also recruited blood cells, blood vessels and surrounding fibroblasts. Pre-existing inflammation can lead to the development of neoplastic cells and increased cancer risk. Inflammatory sites have high local concentrations of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, which can damage cells and cause malignant transformation. Moreover tumour associated macrophages, lymphocytes and fibroblasts can be manipulated by tumour cells to express pro-inflammatory proteins creating a microenvironment in which the tumour thrives. The Cancer and Inflammation group aims to understand how inflammation and cancer development and progression is controlled. A number of current projects focus on the biology of the PI3-Kinase like Kinase (PIKK) family of proteins. PIKK family members include tumour suppressors such as ATM and SMG1 and pro-oncogenic protein mTOR. Previous work by members of this group has shown that these proteins play important roles in controlling inflammation and cancer development. Specific cancers focussed on are Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia and lung cancer.  Contact Dr Tara Roberts

Team Members:

Dr Tara Roberts (Team Leader)

Dr Alexander James

Dr Patricia Rebeiro

Ms Louise Doculara

Collaborators:

Professor C Soon Lee, Dr Silvia Ling, Dr Nicole Caixeiro  -  “The roles of SMG1 and ATM in lymphoma and leukemia development, progression and response to treatment”

Professor Martin Lavin, Dr Sergei Kozlov, Ms Hazel Quek  -  “The role of ATM in neurodegeneration and the roles of ATM and SMG1 in co-regulation of DNA damage responses and innate immunity”.

Professor Jens Coorssen  -  “SMG1 mediated regulation of innate immunity”.

Dr Erika Gyengesi  -  Neuroinflammation

Dr Yi Chieh Lim  –  Glioblastoma

A/Prof Lois Holloway, Prof Greg Kaplan  -  “Effects of magnetic fields on cellular responses to ionising radiation”.

 

Psycho-Oncology & Quality of Life

Psycho-Oncology & Quality of Life research focuses on many aspects of the cancer journey of patients and their carers. Research programs include how individuals can cope together (contact Dr Janelle Levesque), eHealth care using Patient Reported Outcome Measures (contact Prof Afaf Girgis) and palliative care (contact Prof Meera Agar).

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Radiation, Medical Physics & Imaging

Radiation, Medical Physics & Imaging is a multi-disciplinary program with various technology platforms, all of which are aimed to bridge the gap between basic research, diagnostic and patient treatment for cancer.  Including the MRI-Linac program (contact Prof Paul Keall), MR for use in radiation oncology (contact Prof Geoff Delaney), Data mining & Uncertainties in radiotherapy (contact A/Prof Louis Holloway) and Radiation and Imaging detector systems (contact Dr Peter Metcalfe).

 

Targeted Cancer Therapeutics

The Research Program led by Dr Kara Perrow is focused on developing novel nanostructures for site-specific drug delivery. Her projects are based on nanotechnology as applied to the development of innovative nano-sized drug carriers for the discriminate delivery of cytotoxic anti-cancer drugs to cancer cells but not healthy cells. These carriers are designed to deliver their therapeutic payload to specific sites in the body and release the drug at controlled rates. Her program of work includes (but is not limited to) the development of: (i) dual-drug encapsulated polymeric micelles to overcome multidrug resistance in cancer (ii) 3D drug-eluting polymeric scaffolds for the localized treatment of pancreatic cancer (collaboration with CONCERT member Dr Morteza Aghmesheh) and (iii) uPA and HER-2 targeted liposomes for the treatment of HER-2 positive breast cancer (collaboration with with CONCERT member Prof Marie Ranson).