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IMB World-Class Cancer Imaging Centre

institute-for-molecular-bioscienceTypes of Cancer : All cancers
Senior researchers: Professor Jennifer Stow, Associate Professor Alpha Yap, Associate Professor Sean Grimmond

A $2.5 million grant from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) has been used to establish a world-class cancer imaging centre at The University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB). The new grant will make the ACRF Cancer Biology Imaging Facility the most advanced imaging research facility in the Southern Hemisphere, officially opening on 10th February 2010. It will allow researchers to study the progression of cancer cells and their interactions with healthy cells.

“We will use the new facility to gain a detailed understanding of the molecules and mechanisms associated with the transformation of a healthy cell to a cancerous cell, and the invasion of cancerous cells through the body,” IMB Deputy Director (Research) Professor Jenny Stow said.

“This is the key to understanding, and ultimately treating, cancer. It is particularly important that we understand how tumours spread throughout the body, as treatment becomes more difficult once a tumour has spread from its primary location.”

The new facility will complement the work of a current ACRF facility at the IMB.

“The current facility has been enormously successful in underpinning cancer biology research at the IMB for the past five years, and has allowed our researchers to generate some of the highest-quality and most innovative imaging to date,” Professor Stow said.

“However, fluorescence imaging is widely hailed as the fastest-growing area of cancer research, and by supplying us with the equipment necessary to conduct fluorescent imaging, the ACRF has enabled high-level research into the future and ensured increasingly insightful and translatable outcomes from cancer research.”

“We thank the ACRF for recognising this fact, and for funding a complementary facility.”

The ACRF acknowledged IMB’s strength as a cancer research centre.

“The IMB team is an outstanding research team with a track record of high achievement in research that informs our understanding of cancer,” said ACRF Chief Executive, David Brettell.

“They have developed special expertise and a worldwide reputation for use of imaging, and I am confident that this grant will enable them to uncover important information that will further increase our understanding of cancer,” he added.

The Institute for Molecular Bioscience is a systems biology research institute whose scientists investigate complex processes such as growth and development at the levels of genes, proteins, cells and tissues, and the connections between these levels. By understanding these processes, and aspects that go awry in complex diseases, IMB aims to develop therapies, technologies and diagnostics to prevent or treat such diseases.

The Australian Cancer Research Foundation supports excellence in Australian cancer research and has awarded grants totalling more than $62 million, $14 million of which has been awarded to Queensland cancer research centres. In the last five years alone, ACRF has awarded grants in excess of $40 million. It provides funds for major projects throughout Australia at the leading edge in global cancer research, with the potential to produce real breakthroughs for cancer patients.

Expected benefits:

The facility will allow researchers to rapidly decipher gene and protein function and interaction within cells. The IMB team is an outstanding research team with a track record of high achievement in research that informs cancer understanding.