Monash Leads NHMRC Project Grant Funding

Monash University’s cancer research will benefit from  $22.3 million in project grants awarded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Earlier this month, Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley announced $483 million of funding granted to 601 projects around Australia.  Monash topped the funding in this year’s project grants to receive $62.7 million in project grants with 35% allocated to Monash based cancer research projects.

Successful cancer projects include almost $4.8 million for the ASPREE completion project, testing whether a daily low dose of aspirin prevents disease in healthy older people. The largest clinical trial ever conducted in Australia, ASPREE involves 19,000 participants and will determine whether a daily low dose of aspirin prevents disease in healthy older people.

Understanding the role of aspirin in prevention of colorectal cancer was awarded an additional $1.7 million. Led by Professor John Zalcberg of Monash University’s School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine in collaboration with Associate Professor Ron Firestein, Head of the Centre for Cancer Research at Hudson Institute of Medical Research, this project will collaborate with the Royal Melbourne Hospital, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, and Harvard Medical School in the United States.

Prof Christina Mitchell, was awarded over $900,000 to progress her team’s research in characterising PI3-kinase-dependent signalling networks in breast cancer.

Professor Roger Daly, Cancer program leader at the Monash Biomedical Discovery Institute, was granted $750,000 for a study two novel proteins linked to the development of triple negative breast cancer.

“The two proteins, which also appear to have a role in colon and pancreatic cancers, work together synergistically as an ‘evil team’ to make breast cells highly cancerous,” Professor Daly said.

“Our aim is to develop a therapeutic approach that blocks the interaction between the two proteins as a way to prevent or slow the disease. We believe our research work could benefit patients within five to ten years,” Professor Daly said.

Blood cancer research will also benefit with A/Prof Andrew Wei granted around $550,000 towards effective targeted therapies for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) and another $490,000 to A/Prof Jake Shortt to investigate Molecular & Translational Characterisation of IMiD-Mediated BET-Protein Degradation in Multiple Myeloma.
The President and Vice Chancellor of Monash University, Professor Margaret Gardner AO said the University was delighted with the project grant funding.

“It recognises Monash is leading medical research and the world class projects being pursued to improve the health of our communities,” Professor Gardner said.
Minister Ley said the Turnbull Government was committed to continuing investment in medical research.

“We know that every dollar invested in medical research returns on average more than $2 in benefits through reducing the burden of disease and driving productivity,” she said.