31 August 2015
Researchers at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research received over $1 million in research equipment funding, out of a total funding pool of $5.5 million, in this year’s Cancer Institute NSW Research Equipment Grants. The results of the funding round were announced this month by NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner.
Three Garvan teams received funding. The teams are coordinated by Dr Warren Kaplan ($495,000), Professor Chris Goodnow ($500,000) and Dr David Croucher ($51,983).
Dr Kaplan’s grant enables the purchase of several computer servers with large memory capacity. The servers will be used to analyse genomic information from cancer patients that is generated at the Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics (KCCG).
Dr Kaplan says, “Because of the capacity of these servers, cancer researchers across NSW who carry out whole genome sequencing through KCCG will receive detailed analysis that is generated according to standards set by the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC).”
“In effect, this helps researchers doing whole genome sequencing to focus on cancer biology, rather than struggling with complex computing infrastructure.”
Prof Goodnow’s funding will go towards several pieces of equipment – a fluorescence-based cell sorter, an automated system for profiling individual cells, and a desktop genome sequencer. Together, these will provide the infrastructure to undertake whole genome sequencing on individual cancer cells.
“Together,” says Prof Goodnow,"these new technologies will open up genome studies with single-cell resolution – and this is a key step in coming to grips with heterogeneity in cancers and the body's countermeasures."
Dr Croucher will receive a multiplex plate reader that is capable of simultaneously measuring the activation state up to 50 individual proteins in a single volume.
“This system is a powerful tool for understanding the activation of key signalling pathways within cells,” Dr Croucher says. “We’re excited to be using it to investigate how chemoresistant breast cancer cells differ in their signalling activity from other cells.”
“Ultimately, we hope to provide tailored therapeutic options for patients with chemoresistant breast cancer.”
The Cancer Institute NSW’s Research Equipment Grants provide substantial funding for key research platforms, core equipment and capacities to enhance the cancer research effort across NSW. The grants support capability development and greater levels of collaboration across the cancer research sector.