I believe that no one should lose a loved one to cancer and, in my role as Research Manager at Cancer Council SA, I can see that we’re getting closer every day to a cancer free future.
Nationally, Cancer Council funds more cancer research than any other nongovernment organisation in Australia. In 2018, thanks to the support of our community, we invested over $60 million in cancer research across the country. And here in South Australia, generous community donations—combined with our funding partnerships—enabled a total pool of $4 million, funding over 33 research initiatives as part of our Beat Cancer Project.
Cancer Council’s Beat Cancer Project
This year, Cancer Council’s Beat Cancer Project entered into its seventh year, continuing to gain momentum and lay the groundwork for the next cancer breakthrough. It’s a program which capitalises on collaboration between Cancer Council SA, the State Government, SAHMRI and the SA Universities to carry out more than $4 of research for every $1 donated.
Cancer Council’s Beat Cancer Project is currently funding 33 research initiatives―including project grants, fellowships, infrastructure grants, and travel grants and scholarships―covering a broad spectrum of cancerrelated topics from basic science and biomedical research, through to clinical, population health and health services research. This research is being conducted in some of the most common cancers affecting South Australians including bowel, breast and skin cancers.
A year of research milestones
With funding from Cancer Council’s Beat Cancer Project, Dr Lisa Butler is continuing her research program, which encompasses the clinical journey of patients from surgery (bedside), to laboratory research (bench), through to novel clinical trial design (bedside). Her goal is to improve treatment choices and outcomes for men with prostate cancer. By developing more sensitive, noninvasive tests to monitor tumour behaviour, new therapies can be tailored to the patients who will benefit from them the most.
Dr Hayley Ramshaw, a Peter Nelson Leukaemia Research Fellow, has conducted ground-breaking research to decipher the role of a specific growth promoting agent (similar to a hormone in the blood) on the malignant cells in patients with acute myeloid leukaemia. She aims to determine whether we could use this knowledge to design new therapies for patients with this leukaemia, which is a truly devastating disease with limited treatment options. Leukaemia is the seventh most common cause of cancer-related death in Australia, with the majority of these deaths from patients with acute myeloid leukaemia.
Dr Lisa Beatty is the Cancer Council SA Postdoctoral Fellow (Cancer Support) and a Clinical Psychologist at the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer. She has developed Finding My Way, a six-week, web-based program to help people manage common psychosocial concerns associated with early-stage cancerdiagnosis.
Finding My Way caters for people who are slipping through the cracks of traditional support services, to work around the barriers of geography (including rural or remote living) and resource accessibility (including long waitlists and financial strain) by providing strategies that assist people to cope with the stress of their cancer diagnosis from the comfort and privacy of their own homes. It also has the benefit of convenience, in the people can work through the program in their own time and at their own pace.
Towards a cancer free future
Over the past 20 years, we’ve seen research play a key role in achieving our ultimate goal of a cancer free future. Specifically, we’ve seen cancer deaths fall by 14 per cent and survival rates for many common cancers increase by as much as 30 per cent. It’s estimated that, in total, improvements in cancer prevention, screening and treatment over the past years have saved over 61,000 Australian lives.
Dr Tony Daly
Cancer Council SA