Targeting the novel oncogene SPAG5 for breast cancer treatment.
Breast cancer affects one in nine New Zealand females and is the leading cause of cancer death among women. It is highly heterogeneous, current treatments are only effective for a subset of breast cancer. Hence, there is always a need to discover novel therapeutic molecules for new treatment interventions. A mega analysis of over 10,000 clinical cancer samples has identified SPAG5 as a potential driver gene in breast cancer. In this study, the cancer-promoting property of SPAG5 and the mechanism of actions will be investigated using the latest CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology, thus providing novel therapeutic strategies for breast cancer treatment
A feasibility study of a non-pharmacological delirium prevention intervention for hospitalised Māori and non-Māori with advanced cancer
Delirium is a serious medical complication which suddenly reduces mental function. One in two people with advanced cancer experience delirium in hospital, causing patients and families/whānau great distress. Delirium can be prevented in one third of older inpatients through care strategies to enhance movement, interaction, sleep, hydration, vision and hearing. This study will determine if this care can be provided to patients with advanced cancer in two New Zealand hospices, including for Māori and their whānau. The study will help researchers understand the best way to undertake a larger trial of delirium prevention for people with advanced cancer.
Improving immunotherapy with enzymes; using plasmin to make cancer cells more digestible.
Immunotherapy is already curing some patients with advanced cancer. To extend this success to benefit other patients we need better ways to stimulate their white blood cells to attack their cancer cells. We have discovered that a common component of the blood can help the immune system “digest” cancer cells better, and we now need to test whether this can improve our ability to stimulate cancer-killing white blood cells. This will help us design better immunotherapy, including cell therapies we can take to clinical trial ourselves.
RNA-Sequencing of 34 New Zealand melanoma cell lines of the NZM cell line panel, and analysis of the resulting data
All the mRNAs (i.e. all genes expressed) in 34 New Zealand melanoma cell lines will be sequenced to obtain a comprehensive gene expression profile of the entire panel of cell lines. This is important, because the melanoma cell lines are used for pre-clinical studies to develop new anti-cancer drugs; choosing appropriate cell lines for cancer drug development and testing is critical. Following RNA sequencing, in silico bioinformatics analysis of the genomic data will be carried out (from a total of 74 NZ melanoma cell lines, since 40 of these cell lines have already been RNA sequenced prior to this).
Novel combination immunotherapy for colorectal cancer
A new class of cancer treatments called the immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) (e.g. Keytruda) are showing remarkable promise for a number of cancers, including bowel cancer. However evidence currently suggests that they will only work for a subset of bowel cancers unless cooperating drugs are identified. We have identified two robust biomarkers that can be expected to predict response to ICIs, and which illuminate a possible cooperative drug target. Now, we wish to clarify how these biomarkers impose their effects on bowel cancer and to test whether they influence response to ICIs alone or within the proposed combination therapy.
Structure-guided development of orally active plecstatin for pancreatic cancer treatment
The development of drugs to treatment pancreatic cancer is of utmost importance as there are only very limited treatment options for this tumour type. We have recently identified a new compound class – the plecstatins – which can be given orally and show promising anticancer activity in mouse models. The mode of action was found to involve the selective binding to plectin, which is a protein of relevance to pancreatic cancer. In this project, we want to characterise how the plecstatins interact with plectin by using a high-end bioanalytical tool kit and use this information to develop chemotherapeutics to treat pancreatic cancer.
The role of the district nurse within an integrated model of community based palliative care
Current policy recommends district nurses work closely with general practice teams in caring for people with ‘less complex’ palliative care needs. (1) However, district nurses are becoming more focused on practical tasks in order to manage an increasing workload. (2) This study will explore how this move away from a patient centred holistic model of care has affected the ways in which palliative care is provided for people with a life limiting illness being cared for, and dying, at home. Findings will be used to develop a new integrated model of community palliative care by the Auckland District Health Board.
Cancer Research Training Workshop for Consumer Representatives
This two-day workshop will provide training to cancer consumer representatives in New Zealand. The goal is to train existing consumer representatives in the complexities of cancer research and show how they can add benefit. Many of the attendees have received training in advocacy skills around service delivery and policy, and they have a good understanding of the New Zealand health system.However, consumer involvement in research, and specifically cancer research, is a relatively new area for New Zealand and no comprehensive training has been developed or delivered. The training will capacity-build research consumer representation, both in knowledge and confidence.
New Zealand One Day Concept Development Workshop 2019
This workshop helps researchers early in their career develop their new ideas for cancer research studies. Teaching includes how to turn an idea into a successful clinical trial, important elements of how to design a trial, as well as small group discussions on each of the individual participants’ research ideas. The goals are to train researchers early in their career in research methods and to increase New Zealand’s capacity in clinical cancer research.
To fund a speaker to the Annual Scientific meeting of the Australian New Zealand Children’s Haematology Oncology Group (ANZCHOG)
New Zealand and Australian health professionals involved in caring for children with cancer and their whanau, will meet in Christchurch over three days in June 2019 to participate in the Annual Scientific meeting of the Australian New Zealand Children’s Haematology Oncology Group (ANZCHOG). This meeting will feature both international and national speakers addressing current strategies for identification, management and research on childhood cancer predisposition syndromes as well as the psychosocial issues such diagnoses present. Speakers will come from medical, nursing and allied health backgrounds. The meeting is being held in New Zealand for the first time in 8 years.
Cancer Research Trust NZ palliative care breakfast lecture series.
Since 2004 Hospice NZ has been providing the Cancer Research Trust Palliative Care Lecture Series to health professionals across New Zealand.Each month more than 400 people listen to the lecture via audioconference. Topics cover a range of clinical issues such as cancer therapies, rehabilitation, Māori Models of Palliative Care and grief and bereavement support.
Thanks to funding from the Cancer Research Trust the lecture series is delivered without charge to participants.
To attend the Keystone Symposia - Epigenetics and Disease”, March 2019,Banff, Canada.
To attend the annual European Society for Radiotherapy & Oncology (ESTRO) conference to be held from the26th – 30th April 2019 in Milan, Italy
To attend a four days course in fluorescent microscopy organised by the Leeuwenhoek Centre for Advanced Microscopy (LCAM) from 29th January - 1st February 2019 in Amsterdam, and then attend the Network of European Bioimage Analysis (NEUBIAS) training school and symposium from 2nd - 8th February 2019 in Luxembourg
To attend the Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Meetings of ASBMT and CIBMTR (TCT)(formerly the Tandem Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Meetings) in Texas, USA in February 2019