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Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cells for the treatment of cancer

Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cells are genetically modified immune cells that can recognise and kill cancer cells. They are a type of cancer immunotherapy that can be very effective against certain types of blood cancers and are now approved for use in patients. However, CAR T cells can only benefit a very small proportion of cancer patients at present.The aim of this project is to develop new types of CAR T cells that are more effective and can target …

Study level
Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences

Improving therapeutic responses to chemotherapy through combination common drugs

Colorectal cancer is responsible for over 5,000 deaths each year, with most deaths resulting from the spread of cancer to distant sites. When this occurs, cancer is said to be metastatic. When colorectal cancer is metastatic, chemotherapy becomes the mainstay of treatment. Responses to chemotherapy are mixed, and resistance and progression occur in more than 95% of patients.There is a need to enhance responses to common chemotherapeutics to improve patient outcomes. This project will investigate combining common and safe compounds …

Study level
Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences

Exploring exosomes as potential cancer biomarkers

Aims and MethodologyOur team investigates specific mechanisms in which cancer cells communicate with the environment in order to promote disease progression. In particular, we aim to understand the processes employed by cancer-derived small extracellular vesicles, termed exosomes, to promote the spread of cancer cells from the primary site to distal organs. Additionally, our group analyses the molecular composition of exosomes isolated from the blood of cancer patients, in order to establish innovative cancer-specific signatures that will ultimately improve cancer diagnosis …

Study level
Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences

Optimising outcomes for children and adolescents diagnosed with cancer

Each year in Australia, around 1200 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer and while most (84%) will achieve 5-year disease free survival, all will suffer significant distress from symptoms associated with cancer and treatment.High symptom burdens can lead to numerous negative outcomes that persist for many years beyond cancer treatment. These include disruptions normal development, schooling, relationships, careers, and living an independent life. This is concerning, because young people have a long time to live with these negative consequences, …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Nursing
Research centre(s)
Centre for Healthcare Transformation
Cancer and Palliative Care Outcomes Centre

Optimising delivery of a novel nose-to-brain treatment for brain cancer

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an aggressive brain cancer with no curative treatment and poor prognosis. One of the biggest challenges with treating GBM is the inability of treatment to cross the blood-brain barrier resulting in poor drug distribution in the brain. Fortunately, scientists have recently developed a novel nose-to-brain delivery system that uses nanoparticles loaded with a chemotherapy drug called paclitaxel. Initial treatment investigations in vivo are showing significant promise in reducing and controlling the tumour burden. While exciting, before …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Faculty of Science
School
School of Mathematical Sciences

Using a natural β-carboline dimer compound to target metabolic vulnerabilities linked to glycolysis in prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is an androgen dependent cancer and treatments are aimed at preventing activation of the androgen receptor. Part of the development of resistance to therapies involves prostate cancers reprogramming their metabolism to overcome metabolic stress induced by these therapies and support growth and survival. This reprogramming involves increases in the rate of glycolysis and intermediate pathways branching from glycolysis. Previously in our laboratory, the natural compound, beta-carboline dimer, BD, was identified to have potent effects on cell viability, cell …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences

Investigating the role of Neuropilin-1 in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer metastasis and chemoresistance

Triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC) are negative for Estrogen Receptor, Progesterone Receptor and HER2 expression, are clinically aggressive and are unresponsive to the available hormonal or targeted drugs used for other breast cancer subtypes, so that TNBC patients rely mainly on chemotherapy. TNBC accounts for 15-20% of all invasive breast cancer and patients have increased risk of recurrence, mortality and early metastatic progression. Thus, there is an urgent clinical need to develop improved treatment strategies for TNBC. Neuropilin-1 (NRP1) is a …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences

Investigating differences in downstream signalling mediated by two isoforms of FGFR2 in endometrial cancer

FGFR2 encodes two alternatively spliced isoforms that differ in their ligand binding domain and the combination of tissue specific expression of these isoforms and tissue specific expression of the FGF ligands is the foundation of normal paracrine signalling. Isoform switching from FGFR2b (inclusion of exon 8) to FGFR2c (inclusion of exon 9) occurs in tumorigenesis as it establishes an autocrine loop in epithelial cancer cells.We have previously published a detailed investigation into differences between wildtype FGFR2b and mutant FGFR2b following …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences

Testing a promising targeted therapeutic for triple-negative breast cancer

Triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC) are negative for Estrogen Receptor, Progesterone Receptor and HER2 expression, are clinically aggressive and cannot be treated with the available hormonal or targeted drugs used for other breast cancer subtypes. TNBC accounts for 15-20% of all invasive breast cancer and patients have increased risk of recurrence, mortality and metastases early during disease progression. There is an urgent clinical need to develop improved treatment strategies for these women since the median survival of patients with metastatic TNBC …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences

A novel molecular targeted therapy for anaplastic prostate cancer

In advanced PCa, where the cancer has spread into the bone and other organs, the emergence of treatment resistance remains inevitable. For decades the primary form of treatment in advanced PCa has been to target the production and actions of male sex hormones, androgens, the primary developmental and survival factor of prostate tissue. While these therapies result in tumour regression and cancer control, this is temporary and treatment resistance occurs, referred to as castrate resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). In the …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences

Investigating immunosuppression downstream of activated FGFR2 in endometrial cancer

FGFR2 encodes two alternatively spliced isoforms that differ in their ligand binding domain and the combination of tissue specific expression of these isoforms and tissue specific expression of the FGF ligands is the foundation of normal paracrine signalling. Isoform switching from FGFR2b (inclusion of exon 8) to FGFR2c (inclusion of exon 9) occurs in tumorigenesis as it establishes an autocrine loop in epithelial cancer cells. Our lab has reported that FGFR2 activation by mutations or isoform switching is associated with …

Study level
PhD
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences

Characterising a DNA repair protein as an anti-cancer therapeutic target and diagnostic marker in brain cancer

Cancer is the single biggest clinical problem facing the world and will account for half of all global deaths by 2030. Even though there have been significant advances in immunotherapy, we are still unable to cure most cancers. New therapeutic targets, individualised to patient needs, must be identified and validated in order to improve cancer outcomes.Brain cancer causes more deaths in people under the age of 40 than any other cancer and more deaths in children than any other disease. …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)
Centre for Genomics and Personalised Health

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