The 14 nationally competitive research projects we chose for new funding in 2020!

16 March 2020 | Cancer Council NSW

Cancer Council research grants header 2020

Last week we announced over $9 million of new funding to ground-breaking cancer research projects. The 14 world-class research teams are leading the charge towards a cancer free future by investigating new ways to diagnose and treat the disease.

The projects span a range of cancers, including four low survival cancers: ovarian, stomach, liver and pancreatic.

Funds have been awarded to projects deemed through peer review to be of the highest scientific merit; and through consumer review to be of the most value to the community.

Here is a quick snapshot of the projects, hit the research title link for more detail:


Professor Anna deFazio, Westmead Institute for Medical Research: Moving towards personalising treatment for women with ovarian cancer

Professor Anna deFazio wants to create a new treatment pathway so a patient with ovarian cancer can be screened at the time of diagnosis to determine the molecular profile of her cancer.


Professor John Rasko AO, Centenary Institute: Monitoring a patient’s real-time response to a new immunotherapy

This project aims to improve treatment by monitoring an individual’s response to immunotherapy. 


Dr Lorraine O’Reilly, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research: Identifying the drivers of stomach cancer to find more effective treatments

Dr O’Reilly hopes the team’s work will lead to direct improvements on the quality of life and survival outcomes for stomach cancer patients.


Dr Joanna Achinger-Kawecka, Garvan Institute of Medical Research: Reversing treatment resistance in ER+ breast cancer

This project will improve understanding of what causes treatment resistance in ER+ breast cancer and identify new ways to overcome it.


Professor Nicholas Gottardo, Telethon Kids Institute and Perth Children’s Hospital: Developing less toxic treatment approaches for childhood brain cancer

Prof Gottardo will test a new treatment they hope will provide the answer to minimising devastating side effects of medulloblastoma treatment.


Dr Michelle McDonald, Garvan Institute of Medical Research: Preventing the outgrowth of cancers that spread to bone

Dr Michelle McDonald and her team are in a unique position to examine how some drugs help to keep cancer cells in bone at bay.


Associate Professor Alexander Swarbrick, Garvan Institute of Medical Research: Developing immunotherapy to treat advanced breast cancer

A/Professor Swarbrick wants to understand why immunotherapy is yet to make a substantial impact on treatment for advanced breast cancer. 


Professor Mark Molloy, The University of Sydney: Understanding how polyps cause bowel cancer

Prof Molloy wants to understand why and how polyps become cancerous to reduce the incidence of bowel cancer in Australia.


Dr Ulf Schmitz, Centenary Institute: Understanding how genes are regulated in cancer cells

This project will provide vital new information on a specific gene regulation process known to play a role in the cancer development.


Dr Omid Faridani, UNSW Sydney: Predicting how well pancreatic cancer patients will respond to chemotherapy

This innovative research could be a breakthrough in treating pancreatic cancer and improving survival outcomes.


Associate Professor Matthew Naylor, The University of Sydney: Improving identification of aggressive versus slow growing prostate cancer

This project will advance the understanding of how prostate cancer progresses and could lead to a new much-needed diagnostic approach.


Professor Xu Dong Zhang, The University of Newcastle: A new treatment approach for bowel cancer

This project could significantly improve outcomes for patients with late-stage bowel cancer.


Dr Arjun Muralidharan, The University of Sydney: Developing pain-killer neurons to treat chronic pain in advanced cancer

This project will investigate how these vital pain suppressing neurons control pain in advanced breast and prostate cancer.


Professor Geoffrey McCaughan, Centenary Institute: Using combination therapies to treat liver cancer

Professor McCaughan’s team will test two potential new treatments which target HCC liver cancer cells.


You can learn more about the research we fund here.