Tour de Cure celebrates 50 cancer breakthroughs

Thanks to the tireless fundraising efforts of our community over the years, Tour de Cure has now funded 563 cancer projects in research, support and prevention.

We are extremely proud to announce that these research projects have led to 50 major cancer breakthroughs. A breakthrough is a significant medical advancement, that increases our understanding of the causes, the treatment or the diagnosis of cancer.

Each breakthrough takes us closer to our goals of Curing cancer, changing lives.

Whilst this is incredible news, there is so much more to do. Please donate to Tour de Cure so we can continue this important work.

With your help we have funded 50 breakthroughs

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Tour de Cure has now funded a total of 50 breakthroughs. 

A huge thank you to our supporters who raise the funds to make this possible and to the brilliant researchers, scientists and cancer institutions who are working tirelessly to outsmart cancer and make a better tomorrow for us all.

50. La Trobe University - A/Prof Christine Hawkins / Dr Mark Miles, Bone Cancer

Evaluating Smac mimetic treatment for metastatic osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is the most common type of cancer that arises in the bones. It is typically diagnosed during adolescence. Osteosarcoma continues to be fatal for over a third of patients, and for most of those whose cancers have spread to other parts of their bodies (typically the lungs). “Smac mimetics” are new anti-cancer drugs that are presently being tested for safety and efficacy in patients with other types of cancer. In this project, we have found that Smac mimetics are more effective at treating osteosarcoma in mice than the best of the currently-used chemotherapy drugs. Excitingly, we found that Smac mimetic treatment can even target osteosarcomas growing in the lungs of mice. 

49. ANZ Breast Cancer Trials Group Ltd Trading As Breast Cancer Trials - Ms Julie Callaghan - Breast Cancer

CAPTURE: Circulating Tumour DNA Assessment of PIK3CA to guide Treatment Response

Poly(adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase inhibitors target cancers with defects in homologous recombination repair by synthetic lethality. New therapies are needed to reduce recurrence in patients with BRCA1 or BRCA2 germline mutation-associated early breast cancer.


48. CCIA - Dr Lin Xiao (Prof Michelle Haber & Prof Murray Norris) - Neuroblastoma

CBL0137 and Panobinostat, both of which have been found to be effective against high-risk neuroblastoma 

47. CCIA - A/Prof David Ziegler - DIPG Brain Cancer

Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is the most aggressive of all childhood cancers. Standard treatment with radiotherapy is only palliative and single drug chemotherapy has been found ineffective. This project will determine the therapeutic e cacy of a sequential and multi-modal and multi-targeted treatment in pre-clinical models of DIPG. Positive results will allow for immediate clinical application in future clinical trials.

46. CCIA - Dr Maria Tsoli - DIPG Brain Cancer

Exploring the use of nanomedicine to treat DIPG - A Trojan Horse Strategy Against Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma
(DIPG): Using EGFR-Targeted Minicells To Deliver Chemotherapeutic Agents

DIPG is the most aggressive of all childhood cancers. Standard treatment with radiotherapy is only palliative and chemotherapy has been ineffective due to the difficulty of the drugs to penetrate the brain. This project will determine the pre -clinical efficacy of chemotherapeutic agentsusing a novel targeted delivery method.Positive results will allow forim mediate clinical application in anongoing clinical trial (ECRESTStudy).

45. UNSW – John Kokkinos and A/Prof Phoebe Philips - Pancreatic Cancer

Human pancreatic cancer model offers new opportunities for testing drugs.

UNSW scientists have grown human pancreatic cancer tumours in the lab – their model is the first of its kind, with important future clinical implications. The multi-disciplinary team has successfully grown a complete human tumour model in a petri dish.

Crucially, the team’s model stays intact for 12 days and offers a complete view of the tumour – an approach that has great potential for testing the effect of different drugs on the cancer, and offering personalised medicine approaches to patients down the track.

Article here

44. Garvan - K. Wang and Professor Paul Timpson - Pancreatic Cancer

Inhibition of PAK1 suppresses pancreatic cancer by stimulation of anti-tumour immunity through down-regulation of PD-L1

The anti-cancer effects of cannabinoids including CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC ((−)-trans-∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol) have been reported in the case of pancreatic cancer (PC). Using cell lines and mouse models of PC, the effects of CBD and THC on cancer growth, the interaction between PC cells and a stromal cell, namely pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs), and the mechanism(s)involved were determined by cell-based assays and mouse studyin vivo. CBD and THC inhibited the proliferation of PC, PSC, and PSC-stimulated PC cells. They also suppressed pancreatic tumour growth in mice. 

43. Flinders Medical Centre Foundation – Dr. Damian Hussy - Oesophageal Cancer

MicroRNA Profiling in Oesophageal Adenocarcinoma Cell Lines and Patient Serum Samples Reveals a role for miR-451a in Radiation resistance 

42. Macquarie University – Professor Gilles Guillemin - Breast Cancer

Differential kynurenine pathway metabolism in highly metastatic aggressive breast cancer subtypes: beyond IDO1-induced immunosuppression.

41. CCIA – Associate Professors Paul Ekert, Mark Cowley, and David Ziegler

Whole genome, transcriptome and methylome profiling enhances actionable target discovery in high-risk pediatric cancer | Nature Medicine

40. Garvan – D. Neil Watkins - Lung Cancer

Deep multi-region whole-genome sequencing reveals heterogeneity and gene-by-environment interactions in treatment-naive, metastatic lung cancer

39. CCIA - Michelle Haber, Murray Norris, Glenn Marshall, David Ziegler - Neuroblastoma

Inhibition of polyamine synthesis and uptake reduces tumor progression and prolongs survival in mouse models of neuroblastoma

38. CCIA – Paul Timpson, Phoebe Phillips - Pancreatic Cancer

CAF hierarchy driven by pancreatic cancer cell p53-status creates a pro-metastatic and chemoresistant environment via perlecan

37. Foundation for Surgery/ Peter MacCallum – Toan Pham - Cancer Surgery

Immunotherapy for Solid Tumors: A Review

36. Foundation for Surgery/Peter MacCallum – Toan Pham - Cancer Surgery

TetMYB vaccine has shown benefit in a prophylactic and therapeutic setting in the management of colonic adenoma in a murine model. This will form the basis for a future clinical trial to prevent and treat colonic adenomatous polyps.

35. CCIA - Orazio Vittorio and Maria Kavallaris- All Tumours

Intratumoral Copper Modulates PD-L1 Expression and Influences Tumor Immune Evasion

34. CCIA - David Ziegler - Glioma

Radical new treatment for currently uncurable DIPG in Children

33. CCIA - Jenny Y Wang - Acute Myeloid leukemia

Targeting leukaemia stem cells: the path towards the cure of poor-prognosis leukaemia


32. CCIA - Rosemary Sutton - Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

Persistent MRD before and after allogeneic BMT predicts relapse in children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

31. CCIA - Glenn Marshall - High-risk childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia

 High-risk childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia in first remission treated with novel intensive chemotherapy and allogeneric transplantation.

30. CCIA - Rosemary Sutton, Tobias Trahir - Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

Enrichment of atypical hyperdiploidy and IKZF1 deletions detected by SNP-mircorarray in high-risk Australian AIEOP-BFM B-cell acute.

29. CCIA - J R Lynch

Gaq signaling is required for the maintenance of MLL-AF9-induced acute myeloid leukemia.

28. CCIA - Tsoli, M., Ziegler, D.S., Glioma in Children

International experience in the development of patient-derived xenograft models of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma.
Defuse intrinsic pontine glioma is the most aggressive form of high-grade glioma in children with no effective therapies. There have been no improvements in survival in part due poor understanding of underlying biology, and lack of representative in vitro and in vivo models. Recently, it has been found feasible to use both biopsy and autopsy tumours to generate cultures and xenograft models. Conclusion:
This multi-centre study provides valuable information on the success rate of establishing patient-derived pre-clinical models of DIPG. The results can lead to further optimization of DIPG model development and ultimately assist in the investigation of new therapies for this aggressive paediatric brain tumor.  

27. CCIA - M. Tsoli, D. Ziegler - High risk pediatric cancer

Integration of genomics, high throughput drug screening, and personalized xenograft models as a novel precision medicine paradigm for high risk pediatric cancer.

26. CCIA David Ziegler - Glioma

Brief Report: Potent clinical and radiological response to larotrectinib in TRK fusion-driven high-grade glioma  

25. Professor John Rasko, Dr Amy Marshall, Dr Chuck Bailey - Impact of Genetic Alterations on Endometrial Cancer

Research at the Gene & Stem Cell Therapy Program, Centenary Institute, Sydney has led to new insights into the effect of genetic alterations and the impact on patients suffering from endometrial (or uterine) cancer. The research found that genetic alterations in a specific gene (the tumour suppressor gene CTCF) occur in one-fifth of women with endometrial cancers. Their data proves that loss of activity of this essential genome organising protein can lead to a life-threatening production of tumours.

24. Dr Glenn Guerra - Salvage Surgery for Locoregional Failure in Anal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Anal squamous carcinoma is a rare cancer with a high cure rate, making the research into the treatment of locorregional failure of surgical relapse difficult to assess. These surgical procedures are followed in the event that primary treatment (typically chemotherapy) fails. Most patients can be saved, with a positive resection margin being a strong predictor of further relapse and poor outcome.

23. Dr Rosemary Sutton, Dr Toby Trahair - identifying high-risk paediatric acute lymphoblastic leukaemia relapse

Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many immature lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell).  Leukaemia may affect red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. ALL is the most common cancer found in children and usually gets worse quickly if it is not treated. The researchers conclude that the incorporation of a risk score system will enable better identification of newly diagnosed ALL patients who may have therapy reduced, and of those high-risk patients in need of early intensification of therapy to prevent relapse.

Dr Daniel Speidel - how RUNX1 contributes to the success of radiation and chemotherapy

We report a novel function of one of the most prominent leukaemia-associated genes. Our findings show how RUNX1 contributes to the success of radiation and chemotherapy and explain why most leukaemia patients with RUNX1-mutations are resistant to chemotherapy. Thereby, our results provide the basis to overcome therapy resistance in leukaemia.

Murdoch Children's Research Institute – Birth weight and childhood cancer

Evidence relating childhood cancer to high birth weight is derived primarily from registry and case–control studies. We aimed to investigate this association, exploring the potential modifying roles of age at diagnosis and maternal anthropometrics, using prospectively collected data from the International Childhood Cancer Cohort Consortium.

Dr Daniel Speidel – Mutations in SIPA1L3

This paper reports mutations in a poorly characterised gene to be responsible for congenital eye disease (blindness) and clarifies their functional consequences. This paper reports that mutations in this gene are also associated with cancer.

Dr Daniel Speidel – Tumour Suppression

In this paper they describe a completely unexpected function of a protein that many cancers produce in abnormally high levels. Although previously described as cancer-promoting they report that depending on the exact circumstances the same protein can also enhance tumour suppression.

Dr Daniel Speidel – Tumour Suppression

The tumour suppressor p53 is a central player in cellular DNA damage responses and one of the most extensively studied genes in cancer research. In this review, Dr Speidel summarises current knowledge on p53-controlled DNA damage responses, commenting also on recent controversially discussed findings.

Dr Daniel Speidel – Cellular Stress Responses

In response to hazardous agents, cells activate a range of complicated signalling pathways. These so-called cellular stress responses are pivotal for tumour suppression and also the success of radio- and chemotherapy. The EBook features 12 articles on cellular stress responses (review papers as well as original research articles presenting new findings) written by leading scientists in the field.

Dr Tracy Putoczki and Dr Chen Chen Jiang – Gastrointestinal cancers

In their exploration of the Cytokine IL-11, these researchers exposed a potential target for future cancer treatments that will assist in the suppression of human gastrointestinal tumours.

The Garvan Institute of Medical Research – Ovarian cancer research

This study focused on the protein ZNF300P1 and it's behaviour/functions within Ovarian Cancer tissue. The findings revealed that it plays an important role in regulating key cell cycles and cell motility networks in human ovarian surface epithelial cells. It also may play a role in promoting metastasis in ovarian cancer cells.

Dr Christopher J. Chan – Cutting Edge

This work shows the importance of a surface protein in activating an immune cell known as a T cell that is very important in suppressing cancer development.

Dr Christopher J. Chan - Regulation of NK Cell functions

This is the first work describing the function of a novel surface protein that is highly expressed in the immune system. We characterised where this protein is found and which immunological processes it is involved in.

Dr Christopher J. Chan – Surface protein importance

This is the first work describing the function of a novel surface protein that is highly expressed in the immune system. Dr Chan and his team characterised where this protein is found and which immunological processes it is involved in.

Dr Christopher J. Chan – Different signals can affect the function of the NK cells

This work shows how different signals can affect the function of NK cells and how these could be used therapeutically to tune these cells to have specific functions in particular disease contexts.

Dr Christopher J. Chan – Biology & function of a protein family

This is a review based on my work and others that summarises the biology and function of a protein family highly expressed in the immune system that has become very attractive for therapeutic targeting in cancer.

Dr Christopher J. Chan – Detecting cancer cells early

This work reports a novel mechanism by which the immune system can sense cellular dysfunction that can lead to cancer development at a very early stage, outlining the importance of the immune system in the early detection of cancer cells.

Dr Christopher J. Chan – Interaction of two immune proteins

This work characterises the novel interaction of two immune proteins and their role in regulating the function of NK cells.

Dr Christopher J. Chan – Importance of immune system

This work outlines that the immune system is important in the efficacy of a drug that is able to target genetic abnormalities in lymphoma.

Dr Christopher J. Chan – Contribution of a surface protein

The work outlines the contribution of a surface protein that is expressed on immune cells to progression of Graft versus Host Disease.

Dr Christopher J. Chan – Cellular reactions in the field of immunology

This is a review based on Dr Chan's work and others, which outlines how a particular immune cell called an NK cell is able to recognise and suppress cancer. Also, it outlines how to target these cells therapeutically for the treatment of cancer.

Dr Bryan Day – Glioblastoma

This article explores ways to target the protein EphA3 which is found in large amounts in aggressive, adult Glioblastoma (a highly invasive Brain Cancer) and negatively affects survival rates. Therapies targeting this molecule significantly slow tumour progression. The information revealed in this research will improve survival rates in the future for many adult patients facing a Glioblastoma diagnosis.

Dr. Charles Bailey – Targeted Gene Therapy Research

Normal white blood cells make use of a molecular ‘trash can’ to control many aspects of our body’s cellular defences. More than a hundred thousand white blood cells per second are produced in everyone's body and their maturation must be carefully controlled. This article unveiled how commonly occurring stretches of DNA that interrupt genes (known as introns) play a crucial role in controlling gene expression.

Professor Michelle Haber & Dr Glenn Marshall

Every year, 950 Australian children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer and on average every week around 3 die of cancer. This article details the highly successful works of the Children's Cancer Institute (CCIA), taking research and technologies into several different cancer types into viable treatments for children affected by cancer. These successes were achieved in collaboration with the Kids Cancer Centre (KCC) at Sydney Children's Hospital.

1. Dr Paul Timpson – the Garvan Institute

This article details the work of funded scientists Dr. Paul Timpson and company at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research uncovering a promising new approach to treating pancreatic cancer, by targeting the tissue around the tumour to make it ‘softer’ and more responsive to chemotherapy. 

Together we are finding the answers. We won't fail. Thank you.

But there's more to be done

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