Accelerating the search for cancer cures

People with cancer and their loved ones are at the heart of all Peter Mac’s work. And by joining the Tour de Cure Peter Mac Ride, you will make a lifesaving difference to people with cancer – while at the same time making life-long friends.

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre is Australia’s only public hospital solely dedicated to overcoming cancer, and the home of Australia’s largest cancer research group.

600 laboratory and clinical researchers work together at Peter Mac. Their research impacts all types of cancer. Together, they are searching for new and better ways to:

  • Prevent cancers before they occur
  • Detect cancers at an early stage, so that patients have the best chance of cure
  • Treat cancers in ways that are more effective, and have fewer side-effects
  • Support the psychological wellbeing of patients and their loved ones, both during treatment and beyond
  • Cure our patients’ cancers so they can lead long and happy lives, free from cancer.

Fundraising activities like the Tour de Cure Peter Mac Ride play a crucial role in our cancer research.

Functional Analysis of Tumour-Relevant Immune Cells

Through research, we know that the action of a patient’s immune cells is fundamental in determining how a patient responds to cancer therapy. The Ramsay Laboratory, led by Associate Professor Rob Ramsay, is undertaking cutting-edge research in the field of tumour immunology in order to optimise the effect of tumour-killing immune cells called CAR-T cells. Having already shown the ability for CAR-T cells to directly kill tumour cells, the Ramsay Lab is continuing their hands-on research in order to enhance the tumour-killing capacity of our patient’s immune systems. Peter Mac is already manufacturing personalised immune CAR-T cells and having success in improving the outcomes for patients with blood cancers. With the support of Tour de Cure, Rob and his team will work to enhance this immune therapy for solid tumours, ensuring that the CAR-T cells are at their peak tumour-killing performance before being transplanted back into the patient, for optimal cancer-kicking action.

Researching Personalised Immune Therapies in Paediatric Cancers

Peter Mac is a world-leader in immunotherapy treatments for adults. This project, conducted by Professor Joe Trapani, Associate Prof Paul Neeson, Associate Professor Paul Ekert and Dr Deborah Meyran, will enable these incredible immune therapies to be applicable to children.
In collaboration with the nation-wide Zero Childhood Cancer program, which encompasses children with cancers which are unresponsive to treatment, the Peter Mac team will comprehensively analyse the children’s tumour and immune cell landscapes. This will enable them to gain a detailed understanding of the specific immune relationship between each child and their tumour by identifying the cellular determinants of response and resistance to therapies. Using this knowledge, the team will be able to manufacture immune therapies, tailored to each child.
These personalised immune therapies will not only give children a greater chance of survival but also offer a treatment which is far kinder, with fewer long term side-effects.

Funding scientist within the Centre of Excellence in Cellular Immunotherapy Translational Research Centre

Peter Mac is pioneering the revolutionary cancer treatment of immunotherapy. This therapy harnesses the power of a patient’s own immune system to target and kill cancer cells and has had incredible success in inducing remission in patients with blood cancers where other therapies have been futile.
Immunotherapy works by collecting a patient’s immune cells, from which our scientists isolate and activate the immune T cells by engineering them to show the CAR gene. These enhanced immune CAR-T cells are then expanded in the lab before being transferred back into the patient. Once in the patient, these cells are able to seek out and destroy the cancerous cells.
With your help, we will be able to secure a scientist whose role will be dedicated to facilitating the translation of the CAR-T cell engineering from the lab bench to the patient’s bedside, through coordinating the recruitment and subsequent treatment of patients into our clinical trials. This Centre of Excellence will be fundamental in spearheading the immunotherapy program to benefit a wider range of patients quickly and effectively.

Melanoma Tasmania and Canteen Tasmania will be the recipients of the local $10,000 grants on tour. These grants will help fund a UV education program called 'Making the Invisible Visible' into Tasmanian High Schools and supporting teens who are either cancer survivors or undergoing cancer treatment via the Canteen Leadership program. These teens have often missed an important part of their teenage years, and will also go on to support other young people going through cancer.